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FG revokes 924 mining licenses, accuses firms of license racketeering

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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.

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

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.

The Ministry of Solid Minerals recently launched a security outfit to protect its areas with solid minerals from terrorists which have threatened investors in times past.

Also, the Ministry has noted that it will grant licenses to only investors intending to process these solid minerals to their valuable components in the country.

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