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Enugu Govt, Coal Mining Firm, Reach N1bn Settlement

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Milhouse Energy Services Ltd, a coal mining firm at Awhum, Enugu State is to pay the sum of N1billion into the Enugu State Environmental Remediation Trust Fund, while also paying a N100,000 tax on every truckload of coal evacuated from a mining site at Awhum in Udi Local Government Area of the state.

The Fund will be transparently managed by an independent committee of professionals specifically for the remediation and healing of the affected environment.

Recall that the mining site was one of the many sealed by the Enugu State Committee on Review of Mining Activities headed by the Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, Prof. Sam Ugwu, following a crackdown by the Governor Peter Mbah administration on illegal mining sites in the state, including those without environmental impact certification and remediation plans.

In addition, 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, following discussions with the state government, Milhouse Energy Services Ltd may return to site in earnest following an agreement with the Enugu State Government, which will see the company pay the sum of N1 billion for environmental remediation while also paying the sum of N100,000 as tax per truckload of coal evacuated from the site.

The company had mined and evacuated coal from the site since February 2022 without any payments or recourse whatsoever to the Government of Enugu State.

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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”.

Meanwhile, the Mbah administration has continued the crackdown on illegal and indiscriminate mining activities with enforcement tour and sealing of a number of other sites.

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