The Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) has warned speculators to leave the mine field for active and serious investors.
The Director-General of MCO, Mr Obadiah Nkom, gave the warning in a statement by Head, Press Unit of MCO Folasade Fatoke in Abuja on Saturday.
Nkom was speaking when he received the delegation of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) led by its President, Alhaji Kabiru Mohammed in Abuja.
He said that those that did not have any business in mining should leave and let the mines field be cleared.
“We have many operators who are misusing licenses given to them and this is where we must draw a line between inefficiency and ineptitude even as much as we want to encourage many miners,” he said.
He reiterated MCO support and responsibility towards securing active mine sites for serious mining investors in the country.
He also emphasised the need for mining stakeholders to join in diversifying the economy through the mining sector.
While commending the courage exhibited by MAN, he said that the issues of securing waiver for its members due to COVID -19 and security challenges was not indicated in the mining Act.
He gave assurance that MCO was ready to collaborate with MAN, with emphasis on the issue of Community Consent in relation to mining sites to forestall community crises.
This, he said, was critical to the development of mining in any community
Nkom said waivers could only be granted to mineral title holders under the law, adding that the Nigeria Mining Act 2007 has not indicated this in any way.
“Investors should not be allowed to owe government for long, MCO has the prerogative to strategise and recoup government’s fees in adherence to polices for the growth of the sector.
“We have the responsibility to do what we should do as government agency with strict adherence to the laid down policies because it is not how many mineral titles issued but how many of these licences are active.
“As long as we don’t have continuity in policies, it is one step forward, one step backward and no development. That is why we need to understand and collaborate so that things can work well in the sector,” he said.
Mohammed pleaded for waivers for 2020/ 2021 annual service fees for all applicable extant mineral titles and review of deadline for the settlement of all outstanding indebtedness on mineral titles service fees.