FG moves forward to review mining license fees

The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, has announced plans to review mining license fees and other fees payable by mining operators in the country.

According to the minister, in a statement signed by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori, the minister stated this during a consultative meeting with mining industry stakeholders on Thursday in Abuja.

He stressed that the review had become inevitable if the government wanted to effectively fulfill its obligations to provide an enabling environment for mining operations and at the same time collect more revenue.

He stated that the plan would improve the government’s ability to effectively reposition the mining sector.

He sought support from stakeholders for the imminent increase in mining license fees and other miscellaneous fees.

Highlighting efforts to reposition the mining industry, the minister revealed that apart from ongoing reforms, the administration was cleaning up the mining environment through the newly unveiled mining sheriffs, which he claimed had been conducting operations in parts of the country to protect legitimate miners and combat illegal mining.

Alake said: “In order for us to continue to ensure the safety of the mining environment and continue to implement measures that alleviate operational difficulties and challenges faced by miners, we must review mining license fees and other miscellaneous fees.

“We felt we couldn’t do this without telling you because, invariably, you are the players in the industry.”

Regarding the recent revocation of inactive mining licenses, the minister noted that the government followed due process and existing laws guiding the action, and emphasized that there was still a 30-day restitution window for affected operators.

It will be recalled that the minister announced a refund rate of N10 million, N7.5 million, N5 million and N2.5 million for mining licences, small scale mining licences, exploration licenses and quarrying licenses, respectively, for revoked inactive licenses, including those previously revoked for failure to pay annual service fees.

In his presentation, the Director General of the Mining Cadastral Office, Obadiah Nkom, who also chairs the Tariff Review Committee, said the committee recommended new tariffs that were affordable and would improve the competitiveness of the mining sector tax regime compared to regional and global standards.

Speaking on behalf of stakeholders, the President of the Nigerian Miners Association, Dele Ayanleke, commended the minister for his efforts in bringing the mining sector to the forefront of the world, expressing support for the ongoing reforms and plans to review the rates payable by operators.

He urged the minister to consider the challenges faced by miners and ensure rates are affordable.

Other stakeholders in attendance included representatives from Women In Mining, the Gemstone Miners Association and senior ministry officials.