Sunday, July 14, 2024

Fed Govt Revokes 924 Dormant Mining Licences

The Federal Government has revoked 924 dormant mining licences to sanitise the mining sector.

Solid Minerals Development Minister Dele Alake announced the revocation while addressing reporters in his office on Wednesday in Abuja.

The minister said exploration, mining, small-scale mining, and quarrying licences were involved in the mass revocation.

The Federal Government had revoked 1,663 mining licences last November following the failure of the licencees to pay statutory charges, fees, and dues to the government.

Alake said the government’s action was in line with constitutional provisions.

The minister explained that adequate notice was given to the parties concerned through the official Gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Number 227, which was published on December 27, last year.

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He said: “The notice gave all concerned parties 30 days to regularise their status, including clarifications on what caused the licences to be dormant. Thus, although a total of 963 licencees 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 hindering their operations.”

A breakdown of the revoked 928 dormant licences showed that 528 were for exploration; 20 for mining leases; 101 for quarrying; and 273 for small scale mining licenses (SSML).

Alake also said the government’s action followed due process and fair consideration, underscoring its commitment to implement the standard policy of “Use it or Lose it,” as enshrined in mining guidelines.

He added: “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.”

According to him, the revocation is not meant to be punitive but an opportunity for the affected licencees to make restitution.

“For revoked mining licences, a fine of N10 million applies; N7.5 million for small scale mining license (SSML); while N5 million for exploration licence (EL). They will be required to make the payments within 30 days to qualify for consideration,” Alake said.

The minister warned that henceforth, the Federal Government would not tolerate the nefarious activities of licence racketeering or those that obtain licences for speculation in order to offer them to the highest bidder.

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