The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, has taken a decisive step by revoking 1,633 mineral titles held by mining operators who failed to pay annual fees.
This move was announced by Dr. Oladele Alake, a representative of the ministry, during a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.
The revocation of these mineral titles is a response to the non-compliance of mining operators with the payment of annual service fees, as mandated by the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act 2007.
The act requires mining operators to pay a fixed-rate annual service fee, and the recent action is a result of the failure of some firms to adhere to this regulation.
Dr. Alake highlighted the importance of adhering to the law, expressing concern over companies making substantial profits from mining sites while neglecting their financial obligations to the government. He emphasized the relatively small amount required annually, stating:
“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 minister revealed that the amount required annually is as low as N1500 for cadastral units not exceeding 200 units, emphasizing that this fee is minimal compared to the revenue generated by mining operations.
The process leading to the revocation involves a 30-day notice issued by the Mining Cadastre Office to defaulting parties. If no payment is made within this period, the licence becomes liable to revocation.
The minister stated that 2,213 titles were granted a 30-day notice, but only 580 titleholders responded by settling their debts.
As a result, the MCO recommended the revocation of 1,633 mineral titles, encompassing Exploration Licences, Quarry Licences, Small Scale Mining Licences, and Mining Leases.
Dr. Alake, acting in accordance with the NMMA 2007, Section 5 (a), approved the revocation of the 1,633 titles.
He issued a warning to those affected, urging them to vacate mining sites promptly to avoid potential legal consequences.
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