On Tuesday, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, announced the revocation of 1,633 mining titles for defaulting on payment of annual service fees.
At a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr Alake said that in compliance with the law, the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO) on October 4 began revoking 2,213 titles.
“These included 795 exploration titles, 956 small-scale mining licences, 364 quarry licences and 98 mining leases,” the minister said.
He said the development was published in the federal government Gazette Number 178, Volume 110 of October 10, with a revocation notice for defaulting in paying the service fee.
The minister said that only 580 titleholders settled their debts upon the expiration of the mandatory 30 days on November 10.
“With this development, the MCO recommended the revocation of 1,633 mineral titles as follows: Exploration Licence, 536; Quarry Licence, 279; Small Scale Mining Licence, 787; and Mining Lease, 31.
“In line with the powers conferred on me by the NMMA 2007, Section 5 (a), I have approved the revocation of the 1,633 titles,” the minister said.
Mr Alake said the titles would be reallocated to more serious investors, warning the previous holders to leave the relevant cadaster immediately.
He said that security agencies would work with the mines inspectorate of the ministry to apprehend any defaulter found in any areas where titles had been revoked.
Mr Alake said it was 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.
“The amount the companies are being asked to pay is peanut compared to their revenue projections.
” For example, the holder of an exploration title pays only N1,500 per cadastral unit not exceeding 200 units. Those holding titles covering more than 200 units pay N2,000 per unit; in short, the larger the area your title covers, the more you pay,” he said.