Nigeria revokes 1 633 mining titles for defaulting on service fee

21st November 2023 By: Reuters

Nigeria has revoked 1 633 mining titles for non-payment of statutory annual service fees, its minister of mines said on Tuesday.

The affected titles, which are part of a total 2 213 pencilled for revocation, include 536 exploration licences, 279 quarry licences, 787 small-scale mining licences, and 31 mining leases, Mines Minister Dele Alake said without listing the companies affected.

The titles were revoked in compliance with Nigeria's mining law, which requires holders to pay an annual service fee or have their titles revoked.

Alake said only 580 title holders settled their indebtedness after a mandatory 30-day notice to pay up. The notice expired on Nov. 10.

Alake said the revocations were part of the government's efforts to sanitize the mines industry and position it for international competitiveness.

Nigeria is seeking to woo investors to a mining sector that has long been underdeveloped, contributing less than 1% to the country's gross domestic product.

Africa's top oil producer, which is also rich in gold, limestone and zinc, wants its mining industry to play a much bigger role in its effort to diversify the economy away from its reliance on oil.

In September, Nigeria announced plans to start a state-backed company to help attract investments for the extraction of gold, coal, iron-ore, baryte, lead, bitumen and limestone.