Review of the Legal and Regulatory Framework for Environmental Management in the Nigerian mining sector
The Federal Government of Nigeria has embarked on an economic diversification campaign with the aim of leveraging on the Nation’s vast natural resources to diversify the economy from the oil and gas sector to achieve economic emancipation. To address this, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) recently developed a roadmap for mining growth and development with objectives to deepen sector reforms, attract new investors and collaborate with a wide network of partners and stakeholders to rejuvenate the sector and build a prosperous economy propelled by inflows from the solid minerals sector. Among the project objectives, improving environmental and social compliance by mining industry operators is one of the key points. The Nigerian mining sector continues to underperform and to witness environmental and social concerns, apparently due to inadequate policy framework and poor implementation of regulations. In addition, the increasing environmental awareness by mines in host communities would potentially increase the rate of conflict, even though the government is not prepared enough to deal with them. There are no current guidelines to help mitigate against the development of possible conflict situations.
In such a situation, the specific objectives are to support the MEC Department of the MMSD and other related services in improving the strategic, policy, regulatory, and institutional capabilities as well as building capacities regarding the conflict prevention/management through the following specific objectives:
- Reviewing the legal and regulatory framework for environmental management in the mining sector to promote sound environmental management and social equity, aimed at improving the benefit streams to host communities whilst, triggering activities that will lead to sectoral development and growth;
- redesigning a policy framework that will integrate best practice on environmental concerns, involuntary resettlement and participatory stakeholder engagement in a manner that will promote and sustain rapid mineral resource development in Nigeria;
- providing guidelines in the sector to mitigate against possible conflict between landowners and mining (including ASM) operators.