Listen to article
Milhouse Energy Services Ltd, a coal mining company in Awhum, Enugu State, will contribute a substantial ₦1 billion to the Enugu State Environmental Remediation Trust Fund.
Additionally, the company will levy a ₦100,000 tax on each truckload of coal extracted from the Awhum mining site in Udi Local Government Area of the state.
The transparent management of the Fund will be handled by an independent committee of professionals, specifically focused on the remediation and rejuvenation of the affected environment.
The mining site, as you may recall, was just one of many that were closed by the Enugu State Committee on Review of Mining Activities, chaired by Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, Prof. Sam Ugwu.
This came in response to Governor Peter Mbah’s administration’s crackdown on illegal mining sites in the state, particularly those lacking environmental impact certification and remediation plans.
Additionally, an Enugu State High Court also granted an interim injunction restraining Milhouse Energy Services and African Pits & Quarries Ltd, their agents, servants, privies, workers, among others, from ‘carrying on further activities, environmental degradation, damaging and interfering in whatsoever manner with the large expanse of land situate at Ibite Awhum.’
However, after constructive talks with the state government, Milhouse Energy Services Ltd is gearing up to resume its activities following an agreement with the Enugu State Government. This agreement entails a N1 billion contribution for environmental remediation by the company and a N100,000 tax for each truckload of coal removed from the site.
Since February 2022, the company had been involved in the extraction and transport of coal from the site, yet no payments or interactions with the Government of Enugu State had occurred.
Sealing the site in September, Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Ugwu said: ‘while the state is not contesting the fact that solid minerals are on the Exclusive Legislative List, we will not accept indiscriminate mining activities and degradation of our environment. We will not accept that people will enter our state and start carting away our resources without recourse to the Enugu State Government.’
‘So, we want to see the veracity of the license, which they claim they have from the Federal Government, and we have given them a letter inviting them to a meeting.’
‘We also want to find out how they have been remitting environmental fees to the Enugu State Ministry of Environment because we will not fold our hands and watch our environment destroyed and lives endangered’.
However, Mbah administration remains committed to curbing illegal and uncontrolled mining operations through ongoing enforcement tours and site closures.