• Gives Defaulters Option Of Fine Within 30 Days

From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja

The Federal Government through the Mining Cadastral Office has revoked additional 924 dormant mining licences in the country.

Minister of Solid Minerals Development Dr Dele Alake stated this at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday.

Dr Alake explained that the revocation was due to a lack of adherence to the mining policy.

According to Alake, the revoked licences include 528 exploration licences, 20 mining leases,101 quarry licences and 273 Small scale mining licences.

The minister, further explained that last year,1,663 licences were also revoked due to failure to pay statutory charges, fees and dues to the government and warned licence owners who were yet to resume work on their mining projects to do so.

“The notice gave all concerned parties 30 days to regularise their status, including clarifications on what caused the license to be dormant. Thus, although a total of 963 licensees were published and notified of the threat of revocation, no fewer than 39 either moved to the site immediately or convinced the authorities of the challenges hindering their operations,” the minister asserted.

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Speaking further, the Minister stressed that the action followed due process and fair consideration whilst it underscores the commitment of the Federal Government to implement the standard policy of “Use it or Lose it” as enshrined in mining guidelines.

According to Dr Alake, “Investors across the globe are now free to apply for any of the affected Cadastral Units on the basis of “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.”

While noting that the revocation is not meant to be punitive, the Minister announced an opportunity for affected licensees to make restitution, imposing fines for different categories of revoked licenses, stressing that this also applies to the 1,633 titles revoked last year for default in payment of annual service fees.

“For revoked Mining Licenses, a fine of N10m applies; N7.5m for Small Scale Mining License (SSML) while N5m for Exploration License (EL). They will be required to make the payments within 30 days to qualify for consideration, “Alake emphasised.

The Minister warned that henceforth, the Federal Government will not tolerate the nefarious activities of license racketeering or those that obtain licenses for speculation in order to offer them to the highest bidder.

“A 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 licenses. Nigeria is open for business, and we shall encourage smart, serious, and adventurous investors to set up and provide jobs to our teeming youths, “Alake added.