Abandoned tin mines endanger communities, Plateau State, Nigeria


ERA monitors visited Sabon-Barki community and Gyel District, both in Jos South LGA of Plateau State on August 5, 2009 in response to the growing call by impacted communities for a remediation of the ecological disaster and dislocation wrought on their environment and livelihood by nearly a century of tin mining and the failure of government at the federal and state levels to address the problem.

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Basic Data
NameAbandoned tin mines endanger communities, Plateau State, Nigeria
ProvincePlateau State
SiteSabon-Barki, Jos South Local Government Area
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Specific CommoditiesTin
Titanium ores
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn the 1970s Nigeria produced an average of 10,000 tons of tin ore annually. Output fell to 3,000 tons in the 1980s and dropped again to 500 tons in the 1990s. This is a fraction of the global output of 200,000 tons each year, worth an estimated $1 billion.
Project Area (in hectares)31,600
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected PopulationUnknown
Start Date2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesConsolidated Tin Mines of Nigeria Limited from Nigeria
Relevant government actorsFederal Ministry of Environment, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersEnvironmental Rights Action
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Other[1] Radioactive waste is also an issue
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Development of AlternativesERA is calling to:

—Compel the federal and state government to carry out a comprehensive environmental audit of Sabon-Barki and Gyel District in the Jos Plateau and to clean up polluted lands in both communities with money from National Ecology Fund

—A comprehensive probe of all monies allocated to Plateau State under the National Ecology Fund since 1999 and appropriate sanction for individuals and organisations found to have misused the funds

—Need to build the capacity of the local communities to engage their elected representatives to demand ecological justice through an initiative like Host Communities Network (HoCoN)

—Need to build solidarity and strengthen a coalition of civil society organisations that campaign for ecological justice in the Jos Plateau
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The land became degraded from tin mining activities and there was neither remediation of the polluted environment nor compensation for the impacted and displaced people.
Sources and Materials

National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Act was signed into law by President Umaru Musa Yar†™ Adua GCFR and was published in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette No92, Vol 94 of 31st July, 2007.


[1]The Impact of Tin Mining Activities on Economic Activities in Plateau State
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Daily Trust
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Meta Information
ContributorAfoke Ohwojeheri, Earth Rights Action, Nigeria
Last update04/09/2014