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Mining operators make huge profits but refuse to give FG hence rate hike - Alake

The minister stated that the new development will raise the level of services, improve traffic of the transaction and develop infrastructure.

Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake [Twitter:@AlakeDele]

Dr Dele Alake, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the new charges on Thursday in Abuja, expressed concerns over non-remittance by some operators.

Alake said that mining operators in the industry were making huge amounts of money but refused to remit to the Federal Government.

“Today, we are taking a major step in the efforts to implement the seven-point agenda.

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“This is to position the sector for economic consolidation by announcing a new regime of rates and charges for various services of the department and agencies of the ministry.’’

The minister said the development was given the introduction of qualitative measures being implemented in recent times. He added that it would raise the level of the services; improve traffic of the transaction and develop infrastructure.

“For instance, we supervised the successful implementation and conclusion of the mineral sector support for economic diversification mind-diver project.’’

He said the mining sector involved the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO)–the agency responsible for licencing which acquired the new mining information system, Electronic Mining Cadastre System, EMC+ portal.

“This enables 24 hours application and administration system that accelerated the rate of application and access of applicants to MCO, adding that the system had improved transparency."

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Alake said the system would also encourage more interest and boost participation in the sector; thereby giving the stakeholders confidence to invest in the sector. He said that the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) had acquired an integrated base of data accessible to the public.

“The stakeholders have been enjoying the mining sector; it is therefore equitable that those who invest in the mining sector and make profits from it should be on the front lines of government’s efforts to recoup rather than pass it to poor Nigerians.’’

Alake said that there were about 268 items in the rates regime, adding that it would be difficult to mention all the items.

“The major highlights are as follows: under the new regime, investors applying for a mining lease license will pay ₦3 million, while Small Scale Mining Lease (SSML) applicants will pay ₦300,000 for the first two cadastral units.

“The cost to obtain an Exploration Licence (EL) is ₦600, 000 for the first 100 cadastral units.’’

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He listed others as a Quarry lease and reconnaissance permit which attracted ₦300,000.

“The aim is to discourage speculation and address the paucity of funds, limiting the Federal Government’s capacity to improve ease of doing business in the sector.

“The new rate, which affects 268 items in the industry, includes an annual service fee of ₦31, 500 for the first time.

“Also, ₦260,000 for a Small Scale Mining License (SSML), ₦500,000 for a Quarry Lease, and ₦1,250,000 for firms operating with a Mining Lease.

“Following the renewal of licenses, the rates for the respective categories will be ₦42, 000,” he said.

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Alake said also listed an exploration licence, ₦420,000 for an SSML ₦1.5 million for a mining Lease and ₦1 million for a quarry lease.

“Other services affected by the new regulations include mineral title applications of the MCO, alongside the transfer, enlargement, surrender, and consolidation of mineral titles.’’

According to Alake, the new regulations seek to maximise royalties from critical minerals like lithium and gold to boost the nation’s revenue base and contribute significantly to economic development.

“In the new rates regime, lithium ore lepidolite at the current market value of ₦600,000 per tonne attracts an ₦18,000 royalty per tonne.

“Kunzite with a current market value of ₦3 million per tonne, attracts a ₦90,000 royalty per tonne, while lithium ore spodumene with a current market value of ₦316,667 per tonne, attracts a ₦9,500 royalty per tonne,’’ he stated.

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He said that the rates review also affected services rendered by the MCO and the NGSA. According to the minister, the new rates regime takes immediate effect.

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