Mines Environmental Compliance Department (MEC) of Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) have been charged to boost their efficiency in enforcing mining laws that will safeguard the environment in line with the global best practices.
Permanent Secretary MMND, Barrister Georgina Ekeoma Ehuriah, who stated this at the opening ceremony of the Retreat on Mines Pollution Control (MPC) held at New Keffi Hotel, Nasarawa State, said it is a time of sober reflection on the past activities with a view of projecting a better future for the achievement of a sustainable exploration and exploitation of the country’s mineral endowment in line with the on-going diversification of the economy.
Barrister Ehuriah noted that the Ministry has made further strides to protect the environment by setting up a Special Task Force comprising various security agents to partner with staff of MEC in ensuring compliance with environmental laws on mining.
She added that the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committees (MIREMCOs) which serves as a feedback channel to the Ministry for prompt notification of mining conflicts and resolution need in host communities has also maintained sensitization of communities on their environmental rights.
According to her, the retreat aims at assessing various environmental and social issues; seek solution to identified problems; promoting discourse and providing guides on tackling issues associated with mining to ensure the sector occupies its proper place as a contributor to the economic growth of the nation.
In his welcome address, Director, Mines Environmental Compliance (MEC), Engr. Sallim Salaam, said the exercise will immensely improve the staff proficiency on pollution control in mines and quarries to eradicate the non-compliance with environmental requirements by most mineral title holders in the sector.
The Former Dean of Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Jos, Prof. Austin Chukwuma Eziachi in his goodwill message at the retreat reminded participants of the need to consider the environment at all levels of productivity to ensure its safety.
Assistant Chief Geologist, MEC Department, Mrs. Pani, who spoke on behalf of other trainees, said the programme will expose them to better strategies on enforcing environmental compliance.
She also appreciated the government for beaming searchlight on solid minerals to diversify the economy; and providing access to mining titles for investors in the sector.
The exercise basically meant for staff of MEC had in attendance other participants from the technical departments of MMSD, Departmental head of Artisanal and Small Scale Mining, the Mine Inspectorate Department and the Accountant General.
Highlights from the retreat are paper presentation on best mining practices; environmental impact of mining; environmental and social signals; monitoring and enforcement approaches in the mining sector; Illustrations of practical usage of some newly acquired field monitoring equipment and interdepartmental discourse to enable professionals from various fields share ideas.