…as Mining Cadastral revokes 1, 566 licenses
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, Thursday, lamented the drop in solid mineral title applications from 2, 800 in 2016 to 1, 025 in July 2019.
Adegbite who was on a familiarization tour to the Nigerian Mining Cadastral Office, MCO, in Abuja, expressed worry over the development despite the federal government’s emphasis on diversifying the economy through the mining industry.
He said, “The application has dropped this year, you need to ask yourself why. I look at your graph of applications over the years. The application for this year by July seems to have dropped from what you had in the past. In July end you had 1, 025 and in 2016 the total applications received was 2, 800.
“Why are we having lower interest in mining now that government is putting a lot of emphases, this administration wants to use mining as the diversification of the economy, use it to generate employment for our people so why is interest and application dropping?
“These are some of the things you need to check and what do you do about it. Are we not telling people more about mining, so why is application dropping? That is very import and we need to look at.”
“Let the Mining Cadastral Office create the right atmosphere for people to be attracted to mining so you should have more applications as the years go by instead of it dropping. At the end of this year, you may not even have what you have last year from what you have here now 1025 at the end of July. So that is very important.”
He also urged the MCO to cut down cost in capacity building by bringing resource persons to Nigeria to train more people instead of few personnel sent abroad for training with huge expenses on them.
He further stated that the MCO, Mining Inspectorate and Nigerian Geological Survey Agency should work seamlessly and integrate the system to improve revenue generation.
On State and Federal Governments’ relationship, he advised State governments to be patient as they will receive their derivation, and traditional rulers will be engaged for better synergy.
He, therefore, charged the MCO to sit up and create the right environment to attract more applications for mineral titles instead of declining.
He, therefore, charged the MCO to sit up and create the right environment to attract more applications instead of declining.
Meanwhile, speaking earlier, the Director-General, MCO, Engr. Obadiah Nkom disclosed that the agency has revoked 1, 566 non-performing mineral titles under the ‘Use It or Lose It’ policy.
Nkom also told the Minister that the agency has so far generated N2 billion from January to date from the issuance of mining licenses.
“We put these things in place to see how we can improve the system. Our targets areas include invoking the provisions of the Act, whereby people collect licenses and they keep them.
“Recently we have been able to revoke about 1, 566 mineral titles without having to infringe on the provisions of the Act because we do not expect people to be executive miners and this is a continuous process and that is why we use that syndrome of ‘You Use It or Lose It’.
“And because of the strict compliance of the MCO people are there dusting their legal books and whatever to make sure that we make any mistake. MCO’s litigation over the years has been successful and in favour of the government because anything we are doing is within the confines of the law and to avoid embarrassment on the government. We have already seen foreign direct investments in the sector”, he stated.
The Minister also visited the World Bank project for the sector called the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project, MinDiver, office.