Monday, February 8, 2016 6:21 pm
Nigeria has completed a review of its mining licenses and will publish the results next week, the solid minerals minister, Kayode Fayemi said on Monday.
He added that those who did not comply faced having their licenses revoked.
Nigeria, the continent’s top crude oil producer, launched the review late last year to overhaul a largely unproductive sector dominated by small-scale artisanal miners who comprise around 80 percent of the sector.
“We have completed the review and we will be publishing in another week those whose licenses are due for renewal, (and those) who, if they refused to do what is expected of them in terms of the law, would have their licenses revoked,” Fayemi, told Reuters on the sidelines on an African mining conference in Cape Town.
He said that an amnesty period for companies to comply would not be extended beyond March 1 as Nigeria looked to grow its nascent mining sector and diversify away from an over-reliance on crude oil.
Fayemi said the long-term vision would be to significantly grow the mining sector from the 0.34 percent it currently contributed to gross domestic product (GDP), to around 5 and 10 percent, without providing a timeframe.
“The important point here is to let people who are interested in the sector to know that it is now business unusual, we would enforce the law and we would use to encourage serious investors to come into the space,” he said.
Nigeria first started mining activities in 1902, and has at least 44 known minerals including gold, iron ore, tin and coal.
Fayemi said government also wanted to fully activate a solid minerals development fund, already provided for in existing legislation, as a way to kick start investment.
“Somewhere in the region of about 200 billion naira ($1 billion) fund that could accessed by serious investors with bankable plans. Frankly by the first quarter of next year I would really like to see this fund in place,” he said.