No environmental impact assessment report, no mining licence – Alake

The Minister of Steel development Dr Dele Alake has given a strong warning to all prospective miners in the country that henceforth, anyone or company interested in mineral exploration without a certificate of environmental impact assessment report from the Ministry of Environment would not be given mining licence.

He was speaking in Abuja on Thursday during the one year anniversary of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in which ministers appeared to give their scorecards to Nigerians.

He said the matter of environmental impact is so important such that, “Between May 2023 to May 2024, the ministry, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment participated in 18 Site Verification Exercises, bringing the total number to 238 since inception.”

Alake said as long as he remains the minister of solid minerals, the rules would never be bent even though he said some powerful persons were threatening him because of his stance, the reason for which he said he had cancelled over a thousand mining licences.

He said, “During the period under review, 65 Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation Programmme (EPEP) reports were approved, making it a total of 486 approved since inception. This has helped as a tool to monitor compliance with environmental regulations in the sector.”

While giving a breakdown of achievements recorded in the ministry since May last year, Alake said the Renewed Hope Agenda initiative of the administration is rejuvenating the solid mineral sector from fossil oil as attention is now directed towards solid minerals and green energy.

“With its vision on the diversification of the economy as the guiding principle, the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development was identified as a critical machinery to unlock energy and natural resources for sustainable development,” he said.

Alake lamented that over the years, Nigeria had operated a monolithic economy and woefully failed to utilise the windfall from oil to sufficiently create a structural economy in other sectors.

Part of the progresses so far he said include the proposed stablishment of Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation to fill the gap between operators and Nigerian people, gathering the big data on mining sites, securing a friendly investment environment with Mines Surveillance Police and use of technology, the formalisation of artisanal miners into co-operatives and the socioeconomic development of mining communities towards value addition.

Alake was part of the ministers who reeled out the scorecards of their ministries on the first day of the exercise.