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Monday, September 25, 2023

Govt charges Lagos dredgers, miners on land degradation

The Federal Mines Officer in Lagos, Mr Sunny Okhouya, has urged sand dredgers and miners in the state to add value to the sites through backfilling and reforestation.

Sand mining

In an interview in Lagos on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, Okhouya also called for the conversion of mining areas to other uses for preservation and protection of the environment.

Okhouya listed examples in the mining guidelines to include turning borough pits to fish ponds or recreational areas, backfilling, reforestation through tree planting, among others.

He said pre mining commencement inspections were usually carried out by the Mines Environment and the Mines Inspectorate to advise licensed miners on safe extraction methods that would not hurt the environment.

“Our expectation is that miners work with set rules of government. We also wish that they know their rights and privileges and do the needful by paying government royalty.

‘’Every tittle holder is entitled to know that there is a limitation for excavation or extraction on the surface. And when they get beyond that limit they should try to reclaim all of the places they have worked on.

“Reclamation means systematic backfilling of the excavated area, that is, sustainable mining in an environmentally friendly manner,’’ he said.

He said that mining is in the exclusive list and those who misunderstood the process of obtaining licences in 2021 would be assisted by the ministry to regularize their documents.

“The inventory for 2021 will soon be out. In our inventory for 2020, Lagos State alone has 3,586 licences or mineral titles spread across Badagry, Ibeju-Lekki, Epe, Ikorodu,’’ he said.

He said that mining in Lagos included sharp sand dredging, excavation of laterite in borough pits and quarrying, adding that, when construction companies extract the minerals, the law required that they pay royalty to the Federal Government

“Dredging is an extraction of sharp sand which is called industrial mineral or building materials,” he said.

He said that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) jointly regulate dredging on the waterways.

He explained that NIWA grants equipment licences and use of waterways while the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development grants licence to miners to dredge sand or extract industrial minerals.

He said the ministry was collaborating with other agencies to ensure adequate regulation of the mining environment in Lagos State while listing various sensitisation efforts carried out in 2021.

By Grace Alegba

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