The Federal Government has revoked 924 inactive mining licenses, alleging that miners have facilitated a black market for acquiring mining titles.

The revoked licenses comprise 528 exploration licenses, 20 mining leases, 101 quarry licenses, and 273 small-scale mining licenses, according to a statement by Minister of Solid Mineral Development, Dele Alake, on Wednesday.

Alake stated that the measure was implemented to stop “license racketeering,” a practice where companies or individuals acquire titles of mineral-rich areas and then sell them to the highest bidders.

The Minister also announced that these licenses are now open for new investors to apply on a “first come, first served” basis.

According to him, “By creating a secondary, black market to pawn mineral licences, the unsuspecting and unwary investor is misled into believing that he can only obtain licence by patronising the black market. This discourages investment,”

“We believe that this decision will sanitise the licensing system by penalising those who have commercialized the opportunities offered by the sector into a bazaar”

The Minister also noted that owners of the revoked mining licenses have 30 days to redeem them by paying a fee of N10m.

What you should know

In November 2023, as part of comprehensive reforms in the sector, over 1,600 mining titles were revoked due to the non-payment of statutory fees.

Despite being Africa’s biggest oil producer, Nigeria is seeking to diversify its economy from oil to solid minerals and increase the government’s revenues.

Nigeria is actively courting investors to its long-underdeveloped mining sector by offering incentives like tax waivers. Historically, the country has faced challenges in capitalizing on its extensive mineral resources, primarily due to neglect and insufficient investment.

By News Connect Online

News Connect Online is a grassroot advocacy news platform established to promote development and peace through efficient and effective reportage across all beats. Beat: Education, Entertainment Environment Energy Business Health, Sport, Foreign News, Advocacy, Tourism, Transportation

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