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Govt may revoke licences of defaulting miners – Nigeria

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has disclosed plans to revoke the mining licences of non-complying mining companies in 2024.

He also said the country’s mining sector would experience a major leap, adding that the leap would be towards contributing substantially to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

The Special Assistant on Media to the Minister, Segun Tomori, made this known in a press statement issued on Sunday in Abuja.

According to him, Alake said this in his New Year goodwill message to Nigerians.

He added, “Alake reiterated that President Bola Tinubu’s vision of diversifying the economy through renewed focus on solid minerals is on course, asserting that reforms in the sector will yield tremendous results in the New Year. It will be recalled that we had revoked 1,633 mining licences of those who defaulted in the payment of annual service fees last year. More revocation is in the offing for other categories of defaulters in 2024.”

In November, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, revoked 1,633 minerals titles due to default in payment of stipulated service fees by operators.

He said, “It is indeed very unconscionable for corporate bodies making huge profits from mining to refuse to give the government its due by failing to pay their annual service fee.

“It is indeed a reasonable conjecture that such a company will even be more unwilling to pay royalties and honour its tax obligations to the government. The amount the companies are being asked to pay is peanut compared to their revenue projections.”

Alake pledged to consolidate on reforms that he promised during his assumption of office four months earlier.

In the statement, he said, “I felicitate Nigerians for making it through 2023 into the year 2024. It is pertinent that we collectively look forward to the horizon of the New Year, with renewed hope, especially because it signposts the first fiscal year of the Tinubu administration.

“On our part in the solid minerals development ministry, we will be consolidating on reforms that commenced with our ambitious seven-point agenda, on assumption of office, four months ago.

“Nigerians can be rest assured that an efficient governance structure that will transform the opaque nature of the mining sector will crystallise in the new year. Our plans to tackle the menace of insecurity in mining areas alongside the activities of illegal miners through a rejigged security architecture is well on course.”

He added that it would see the result of months of engagement with heads of security agencies, as was prepared to defeat those plundering Nigeria’s mineral resources.

On exploration, the minister said, “Efforts on exploration of critical minerals which started last year with the signing of an MoU with German firm, GeoScan GmbH for the deployment of proprietary technology to explore minerals up to 10,000m under the earth will be ramped up with renewed vigour by the federal government.

“This is crucial for the development of the sector as it will lead to the generation of big geo-data required for global players to make informed decisions about investing in the industry.”

Alake urged Nigerians to keep faith with the Tinubu administration, emphasising that reforms in the mining sector and other areas would jumpstart the real sector and lead to immense jobs and prosperity for all Nigerians.

He added, “We are prioritising value addition for prospective investors in the mining sector. The era of just carting away our resources is over. We want to see practical plans to develop these raw materials into finished products or plans to add value to host communities before we even license new operators.

 

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