The Nigerian government has revoked 1,633 mining licences held by non-complying companies in an effort to clean up the mining industry. The licences were revoked due to failure to pay mandatory annual service fees.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, announced the revocations during a press briefing in Abuja. He stated that the move aims to free up space for investors willing to properly develop Nigeria’s vast mineral resources.
The revoked licences include 536 exploration licences, 279 quarry licences, 787 small-scale mining licences, and 31 mining leases. The mining companies failed to pay annual fees as low as N1,500 per licence, despite generating significant profits.
According to Alake, Sections 10, 11, and 12 of the Mining Act empower the government to revoke the licences of companies that default on payments. The companies were given 30-day default notices, but only 580 responded by settling their debts.
Alake warned that security agencies will apprehend unauthorised persons still operating on revoked mining sites. He urged stakeholders involved in shady mining deals to reform their ways.
The licence revocation will boost growth in Nigeria’s mining sector by eliminating speculators and attracting serious investors. It also allows the government to collect more revenue from functional mining companies to fund infrastructure development.