Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Friday, 4 July 2008 17:57 UK

Nigeria wants mining reparations

Abandoned mine pool at Shugwi Vom, Nigeria
There are around 5,000 mine pools like this one at Shugwi Vom

Nigeria's Plateau State wants $100bn (50bn) in compensation from the UK and Europe for environmental damage caused, it says, by mining in colonial times.

The Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Agency says it has discovered radioactive materials buried under the soil.

Radioactive waste occurs in the material that remains when tin is extracted from its ore.

Many children and cattle are also reported to have fallen into disused quarries and died.

The mines were owned by British and other European companies between the early 1900s and the 1960s.

The state government has compiled a report showing the extent of the damage during that time.

It says mining companies dug around 5,000 quarries that have since filled with water.

The Jos Plateau - which the state is named after - became one of the world's major suppliers of tin.

Nigeria map

But other metals such as lead, uranium, tantalite and zircon have also been mined.

Tin was exported to cities in the UK such as Liverpool and Manchester.

The BBC's Shehu Saulawa in Plateau State says the mining has affected farmers, fishermen and grazing grounds belonging to Fulani herdsmen.

Other people have suffered health problems from drinking water from the ponds which contains a lot of iron, the report says.

The state government is asking for representatives from the UK and other countries to visit affected areas to see the damage.

It said if there is no reparation or compensation then it would take "appropriate legal action".

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