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FG sanitizes mining sector, revokes 924 dormant licenses

In a bid to sanitize the mining sector, the federal government has revoked not fewer than 924 dormant licenses.

The dormant licenses covered exploration, mining, small-scale mining and quarrying.

This was made known by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, during a press conference on Wednesday.

The Minister reiterated that the revocation followed due process, with adequate notice given to all concerned parties as stipulated in the official Gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, No. 227, published on December 27, 2023.

Of the 963 licensees notified of the impending revocation, only 39 took immediate action or provided convincing reasons for the dormancy of their licenses.

Out of the 928 licenses revoked, 528 comprised of exploration licenses, 20 mining leases, 101 quarry licenses, and 273 Small Scale Mining Licenses, according to the Independent.

He hinted that the revocation of dormant licenses marked a significant step towards revitalizing Nigeria’s mining sector, promoting accountability, and attracting responsible investment for sustainable development.

Dr. Alake emphasized that the revocation aligns with the government’s commitment to enforcing the “Use it or Lose it” policy entrenched in mining guidelines.

He stated, “Investors worldwide are now free to apply for any affected Cadastral Units on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. This decision aims to sanitize the licensing system and penalize those who treat the sector as a mere commodity.”

To provide a path for restitution, Dr. Alake announced fines for the different categories of revoked licenses. Revoked Mining Licenses incur a fine of N10 million, N7.5 million for Small Scale Mining Licenses and N5 million for Exploration Licenses. Licensees have 30 days to pay the fines to qualify for consideration.

Furthermore, Dr. Alake warned against license racketeering and speculative practices, affirming the government’s zero-tolerance stance on such activities. He urged investors to swiftly initiate projects upon obtaining licenses, emphasizing Nigeria’s readiness to welcome serious investors who create employment opportunities.

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