He stated that the revoked licenses would be reallocated to more serious investors who demonstrate commitment to compliance.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, announced the revocation of 1,633 mining titles for defaulting on payment of annual service fees.
The announcement was made during a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, November 21, 2023.
The revocation process, initiated by the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO) on October 4, targeted 2,213 titles, including 795 exploration titles, 956 small-scale mining licenses, 364 quarry licenses, and 98 mining leases.
These were published in the Federal Government Gazette Number 178, Volume 110 of October 10, with a notice of revocation for defaulting in the payment of annual service fees.
The mandatory 30-day response period expired on November 10, during which only 580 title holders settled their outstanding debts.
Consequently, the MCO recommended the revocation of 1,633 mineral titles, comprising 536 Exploration Licences, 279 Quarry Licences, 787 Small Scale Mining Licences, and 31 Mining Leases.
In exercising the powers conferred by the NMMA 2007, Section 5 (a), Dele Alake approved the revocation of the 1,633 titles. He stated that the revoked titles would be reallocated to more serious investors who demonstrate commitment to compliance.
Addressing the media, Alake warned previous title holders to vacate the relevant cadaster immediately. Security agencies, in collaboration with the Mines Inspectorate of the ministry, are mandated to apprehend any defaulter found on the areas where titles have been revoked.
Alake asserted that President Bola Tinubu’s vision to sanitise the solid minerals sector and position it for international competitiveness remains a priority. He urged stakeholders to cooperate in achieving these patriotic objectives and encouraged those who engaged in improper practices to reform.
The minister expressed disappointment in corporate bodies making substantial profits from mining but refusing to pay their annual service fees. He noted that the fees were a minimal contribution compared to their revenue projections.
Alake concluded by issuing a stern warning to illegal miners, stating that their “days were numbered” and urging them to cease their illegal activities immediately.
He stated the need for a governance system to regulate the sector, ensuring compliance, transparency, and comprehensive administration of titles.*
In the minister’s words, “Ultimately, the Nigerian people shall be the winners.“