No fewer than 3,030 companies have applied for mineral titles in Nigeria, The PUNCH has learnt.
The Director-General of Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office, Mr Obadiah Nkom, disclosed this in his presentation document during ‘Nigeria Mining Week’ programme.
A copy of the presentation obtained by The PUNCH showed that these companies were requesting a total of 7,310 mineral titles.
Also, 977 companies made the request completely online, and 2,053 companies applied at the MCO.
The document read, “Since the unveiling of eMC+, the Office has witnessed an exponential increase in mineral title application submission.
“A total of 7,310 Mineral Title Applications and Modifications has been received. 2,764 of these applications, submitted by 977 companies was done online, at the convenience of the applicants, without any assistance from MCO; while 4,546 of the applications was submitted by 2,053 companies online via MCO assistance (at the MCO).
“Following from the above, currently, eMC+ is at 38 per cent adoption by mining sector stakeholders.”
The PUNCH earlier reported that the MCO revoked 3,402 mineral titles of companies for defaulting on the terms of their licences.
The disclosure was made by the Director- General of the Cadastre Office, Mr Obadiah Nkom, during a State House briefing in January 2023.
Checks by the PUNCH showed that small-scale miners were the most affected.
The PUNCH discovered that out of the 3,402 mineral titles revoked, 1,665 licences belonged to small-scale miners.
Other mineral titles included exploration licence (with 1,015 revoked), mining lease (with 76 revoked), and quarry lease (with 646 revoked).
Speaking to journalists on the side-lines of the 8th edition of Nigeria Mining Week, Nkom stressed that transparency in mining licenses will boost the economy and also entice more investments locally and globally.
He noted that the mining Cadastre office is operating the eMC plus an online for transparency to boost the mining industry across Nigeria.
Nkom said that with eMC Online, one can see how to process licenses of the mining industry anywhere in the world.
He said, “If licensing is not transparent enough, then there is no way it will be able to actually attract the needed investment, particularly in the sector. And as long as we get it wrong in the mining, title administration, then it becomes a big problem.”
On the possible reason for a licence to be revoked, he made reference to the use it or lose it policy.
He said, “There are two ways you can lose a license, first of all, non-payment of one or service fees. And the second one is dormant activities in addition to other obligations, which are spelt out clearly in the app. That is why one of our key principles in the mining cadastre is ‘Use it on you lose it’ because at the end of the day, if you don’t use the license, you lose it.”
In March 2022, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative announced that 2,119 companies operating in Nigeria’s solid minerals industry were indebted to the federation to the tune of over N2.76bn over non-payment of service fees.
The PUNCH also reported in February 2023 that the total number of mineral titles issued to mining companies dropped by 36.63 per cent within a period of five years.
A document obtained by The PUNCH showed that while 2815 mineral titles were issued in 2016, 1438 were issued in 2021.
The document also revealed that 2,258 mineral titles were issued in 2016, 2429 in 2017, 2124 in 2018, and 1,620 in 2019.
It was also noted that 1,438 mineral titles were issued between January and October 2022, which is a 48.92 drop per cent from what was issued in 2016.
The mineral titles included mining, exploration, quarry, and small-scale mining licences.
The PUNCH also recently reported that Nigeria’s Federal Government generated N14.59bn from 2018 to 2022, from issuing mining licences and accreditation.