Home Economy FG revokes 924 dormant mining licences, gives 30 day ultimatum to make restitution

FG revokes 924 dormant mining licences, gives 30 day ultimatum to make restitution

by Business News Report

Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, Wednesday, revoked 924 mineral licences based on the invocation of the ‘Use it or Lose it’ policy of the Ministry. Alake announced this during a press conference held at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, where he said that the revoked mining licences include 528 Exploration Licences; 20 Mining Leases; 101 Quarry licences; and 273 Small Scale Mining Licences. He also said they are giving 30 day ultimatum to restitute and be reinstated by paying a fine, which is a new policy of the government, and he made it known that the small scale mining Licences a fine of N7.5 million; Exploration Licence N5 million, and Mining Licence N10 million to the Federal Government, and he added that and the new policy affects even the ones just revoked.

Meanwhile, the Minister condemned persons involved in licence racketeering who know have minerals of commercial value and pollute the market by engaging in speculation and offering the licences to the highest bidder, therefore portraying Nigeria in bad light. It will be recalled that on the occasion of the revocation of 1,663 licences for failure to pay statutory charges, fees and dues to the Federal Government through the Mining Cadastral Office in November last year, the Minister warned that licences who were yet to resume work on their mining projects to do so immediately. According to him, there are many negative consequences on licence racketeering, which bars serious businessmen ready to move to site and from making use of such sites because the concept of ‘First Come, First Serve’ means that the place has been acquired, which makes  the country loses a lot of foreign direct investments on account of this sabotage. Second, by creating a secondary, black market to pawn mineral licences, the unsuspecting and unwary investor is misled into believing that he can only obtain licence by patronising the black market, this gives Nigeria a bad image abroad and discourages investment.

Thirdly, from feedback, the amounts at which these licences are sold are so huge compared to their cost such that the funds which they could have used to initiate serious exploration or mining are spent on speculators. He said: “Clearly, Nigeria’s mining sector cannot continue to suffer low investment on account of the nefarious activities of persons who buy licences of promising mine sites to sell, it therefore became imperative to revoke dormant licences. “In line with constitutional provisions, we ensured that adequate notice was given to the concerned parties through the official gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria No 227 which was published on December 27, 2023. This notice gave all concerned parties 30 days to regularise their status including clarifications on what caused the licence to be dormant. Thus, although a total of 963 licences were published and notified of the threat of revocation, no fewer than 39 either moved to site immediately or convinced the authorities of the challenges which hindered their operations. 

“In view of the above which shows our adherence with due process and fair consideration and in line with the standard policy of ‘Use it or Lose It’, I hereby revoke the 924 dormant licences with immediate effect. These include 528 Exploration Licences; 20 Mining Leases; 101 Quarry licences; and 273 Small Scale Mining Licences. Investors across the globe are now free to apply for any of the affected cadastral units on the basis ‘First Come, First Served.’ It is our belief that this decision will sanitise the licensing system by penalising those who have commercialised the opportunities offered by the sector into a bazaar. “The good lesson from this exercise is for investors to do their homework and be ready to flag off their projects as soon as they obtain licences. Nigeria is open for business and we shall encourage smart, serious and adventurous investors to set up and give to our teeming youths.”

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