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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
Name of conflict:Abandoned tin mines endanger communities, Plateau State, Nigeria
State or province:Plateau State
Location of conflict:Sabon-Barki, Jos South Local Government Area
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country 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 commodities:Tin
Titanium ores
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

In 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:31,600
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:Unknown
Start of the conflict:2009
Company names or state enterprises:Consolidated Tin Mines of Nigeria Limited from Nigeria
Relevant government actors:Federal Ministry of Environment, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Environmental Rights Action
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Impacts of the project
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 Health impacts[1] Radioactive waste is also an issue
Socio-economical 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
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Development of alternatives:ERA 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

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.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1]The Impact of Tin Mining Activities on Economic Activities in Plateau State
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Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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Daily Trust
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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Other documents

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Meta information
Contributor:Afoke Ohwojeheri, Earth Rights Action, Nigeria
Last update04/09/2014
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