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African Minerals agreement flouts Environment laws – Green Scenery

Green Scenery on August 20, 2010, claimed that African Minerals Limited (AML) flouted environmental procedures, hence the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Act 2008 and by extension the Mines and Minerals Act of 2009. “Our claim was justified by Ag. Deputy Director of SLEPA, Mr. Momodu Bah on the popular TV show Good Morning Salone, on August 31st 2010. That is why we urge the Minister to recall the AML agreement and set right the critical issues around Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan.”
Green Scenery stated: The Law (EPA) requires in section 23 (1) that: Except as otherwise provided in this Act and notwithstanding the provisions of any enactment, no person shall undertake or cause to undertake any of the project set out in the first Schedule unless he holds a valid license in respect of such project. In Section 27 (1) the law further states: The Agency shall, after receiving an environmental impact assessment, circulate it to professional bodies or associations, Government Ministries and non- governmental organization for their comments. (2) Without prejudice to subsection (1), the agency shall open the Environmental Impact Assessment for public inspection and comments and shall give notice to that effect in two consecutive issues of the Gazette and two issues in a newspaper, except that in the case of a newspaper there shall be an interval of at least seven days between the first and second publications. (3) Comments made under this section shall be submitted within fourteen days of the last publication in the Gazette or newspaper as the case may be, to the Executive Director.
The Ag. Deputy Director on the 31st of August on “Good Morning Salone” explained that the above procedure should be met by anyone aspiring for an environmental license.
Green Scenery reiterates that these procedures were not followed by AML in acquiring an environmental license. Therefore the license AML holds is not valid yet the company has signed an agreement with Government, which agreement holds AML binding to its articles including the environmental articles (17) and (19s&t).
Furthermore, Article 13 of the AML agreement allowing the company to return mining spoils to rivers or streams used by the company for their operations provided they are not poisonous or noxious matters is unacceptable and goes against the spirit of section 114 of the MMA. “We continue to be concerned that an already signed agreement further makes sacrosanct AML’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which has not gone through the procedure of public scrutiny. Green Scenery believes that given a bad EIA, very little can be done to reverse it since it has already been accepted by law,” emphasized Joseph Rahall, Executive Director. Green Scenery pleads to President Koroma as a champion of environmental protection to demand that all required environmental precautions are regularized before the agreement takes effect. “We appeal to the international community, all Green Actors locally and internationally to demand AML to meet its Environmental obligations for this agreement before mining commences.”

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