FG revokes 1,633 licences, reads riot act to illegal miners

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The Federal Government has announced the revocation of 1,633 mining licenses due to default in payment of stipulated service fees by operators.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, made the announcement on Tuesday in Abuja.

Alake, who spoke at a news conference in his office, stated that the revocation becomes imperative following the expiration of a 30-day notice to defaulters as stipulated by sections 11 and 12 of the Nigerian Mineral Mining Act, 2007.

He said: “In compliance with the law, the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO) on October 4, 2023 began the process of revoking 2,213 titles.

“These included 795 Exploration titles, 956 Small Scale Mining Licences, 364 Quarry licences, and 98 Mining Leases. These were published in the Federal Government Gazette Number 178, Volume 110 of October 10, 2023 with the notice of revocation for defaulting in the payment of Annual Service Fee.

“The mandatory 30 days expired on November 10, 2023.

“Only 580 title holders responded by settling their indebtedness.

“With this development, the MCO recommended the revocation of 1, 633 mineral titles as follows: Exploration Licence, 536; Quarry Licence, 279; Small Scale Mining Licence, 787 and Mining Lease, 31.

“In line with the powers conferred on me by the NMMA 2007, Section 5 (a), I have approved the revocation of the 1,633 titles.

“I hereby warn the previous holders of these titles to leave the relevant cadaster with immediate effect as security agencies shall work with the Mines Inspectorate of the Ministry to apprehend any defaulter found on any of the areas where titles have been revoked.”

The Minister further stated that efforts are ongoing to sanction other operators defaulting in payment of royalties, taxes amongst others, emphasising that revocation of operators shortchanging government is a continuous process which he noted will create space for serious prospective investors to come on stream.

Responding to enquiries on illegal mining, Alake read the riot act to culprits, asserting that their days are numbered.

He vowed that the government would deal ruthlessly with those who refuse to turn a new leaf, restating the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to sanitising the mining sector.

On the issue of insecurity, the Minister reiterated that plans for the establishment of Mines Police is underway, revealing that the military will conduct initial clearance operations to pave the way for the deployment of the Mines Police.

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