The activities of illegal sand dredgers and gravel miners have continued to pose severe environmental and security threats in Akwa Ibom State.
Critical state infrastructure and assets are currently being threatened, several communities have lost their sources of natural drinking water, farmlands are being devastated with an attendant loss of revenue.
It is even more worrisome that suspicious characters from all parts of the country are beginning to find dwelling places in our state under the guise of sand dredging or gravel mining.
In view of the urgent need to alleviate these concerns, generate a database of practitioners in the state and ensure that all mining activities in Akwa Ibom State are carried out in accordance with the extant laws, please find below an approved checklist for all current and prospective artisanal miners.
1. Formal expression of interest to the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Environment (MoE)
2. Site verification/Inspection
3. Evidence of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with host communities.
4. Evidence of operational permit/license by the Federal Ministry of Mines & Steel (MoM&S) and National Inland WaterWay Authority (NIWA), where applicable.
5. Acceptable Environmental Management Plan (EMP)
6. Evidence of business registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
7. Evidence of up-to-date tax clearance from Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service (AKIRS)
8. Environmental Permit issued by the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Environment (MoE). This is renewable annually while approved locations will be mapped.
It is important to note that all prospective miners and current operators must be certified to have completed this process before the commencement of operation. Furthermore, all operators must subject their sites to mandatory quarterly environmental monitoring as well as an annual environmental audit.
This checklist was developed after due consultation with other relevant regulatory bodies. Implementation takes immediate effect.
We count on the cooperation of all current and prospective artisanal miners, community leaders and related agencies in ensuring the safety of our environment.