FG is­sues 7,000 min­ing li­cences in eight years, re­vokes 2,500

The Punch - - BUSINESS & ECONOMY - Ever­est Amae­fule, Abuja

The Fed­eral Govern­ment is­sued more than 7,000 li­cences in the last eight years out of which only 4,500 sub­sist, the Nige­rian Min­ing Cadas­tre Of­fice has said.

The outgoing Direc­torgen­eral of NMCO, Mr Mo­hammed Amate, dis­closed this at an in­ter­view with jour­nal­ists dur­ing an event to han­dover to a newly ap­pointed Di­rec­tor-gen­eral in Abuja on Fri­day.

Amate also ad­vised the Fed­eral Govern­ment to pay at­ten­tion to the de­vel­op­ment of min­er­als that would oc­cupy the at­ten­tion of the global econ­omy in the near­est fu­ture as the world tran­sits from fos­sil to elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

he said, “Be­fore the com­ing of the Min­ing Cadas­tre Of­fice, it used to take one or two years to get one li­cence. To­day, we can is­sue a li­cence within 30 to 45 days.

“From in­cep­tion till date, we have is­sued well over 7,000 li­cences. But to­day, what we have on our data­base is 4,500 li­cences be­cause some were can­celled; some ex­pired and some are very ac­tive.

“In min­ing, you look at what the min­er­als for the fu­ture are. The min­er­als for the fu­ture now are bat­tery-re­lated min­er­als such as cobalt, lithium, lead and the rest. The rea­son is sim­ple: we are mov­ing to­wards elec­tric cars and we must have ef­fi­cient bat­ter­ies to run them. So, these are the min­er­als for the fu­ture.

“Again, Nige­ria was known for tin. To­day, tin is now mak­ing an in­road. So, one of the min­er­als that are re­ally on top of most in­vestors’ agenda now is tin. These are the min­er­als for the fu­ture.”

Amate said that the na­tion needed to work hard in or­der to at­tract back for­eign min­ers that left the coun­try some­time around the 1970s.

Also speak­ing to jour­nal­ists, the newly-ap­pointed Direc­torgen­eral of NMCO, Mr Oba­diah Nkom, said that the govern­ment was ready to im­ple­ment a new regime of ‘use it or lose it’ in or­der to weed out spec­u­la­tors from the Nige­rian min­ing land­scape.

he ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity of re­new­ing li­cences that had al­ready been re­voked.

Nkom said, “One of the key things that we in­tend to do is to be able to re­store in­vestors’ con­fi­dence in or­der to at­tract more in­vest­ment into the sec­tor and make sure that spec­u­la­tors are brought to nil.

“We are ready to im­ple­ment ‘use it or lose it’; the laws are quite clear. They are spelt out. You ei­ther de­velop it or no­tice is given to you to de­velop it. They are all aware. The ma­chin­ery has al­ways been there. The law is okay; it is the im­ple­men­ta­tion that is the big­gest prob­lem.

“There is no way we will ever go back to our vomit. The law has al­ready said it clearly – a re­voked li­cence is re­voked. have you ever seen a dead man re­sus­ci­tated? If your li­cence is dead, it is dead. We can give birth to a new li­cence but a dead one is dead. There is no way in the law it is al­lowed.”

The new NMCO boss said that re­voked li­cences would be reis­sued to op­er­a­tors who were ready to use them.

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