Oscarline Onwuemenyi 30 December 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Any current holder of mining licence who fails to use it would forfeit such by March next year when the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development would start enforcing the “use it or lose it” doctrine as enshrined in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act.
Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who gave this indication in Abuja, said the country’s solid minerals sector currently accounts for about 0.34 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, which translates to about N400 billion in value to the economy.
“While this is a significant role, it is smaller than the true potentials of the sector. In fact, what has been happening is that the sector has more or less been operating sharply below capacity, with many mining operations manned by small scale artisanal miners as opposed to large scale players,” Fayemi said.
He noted the global decline in prices of commodity, but said the good news was that Nigeria has a great deal of domestic demand for industrial minerals and metal.
“So we will focus on working with other MDAs to ensure that demand is met by Nigerian miners and processors,” he said.
Fayemi also disclosed that the Federal Government has commenced an audit of its privatised assets, especially Ajaokuta Steel Company, with a view to taking them over in the new year.
He described the parlous condition of the steel rolling mills in Nigeria as shameful and unacceptable.
The previous administration had faced numerous legal constraints in its bid to take over the Ajaokuta Steel Company of Nigeria located in Kogi State, after its agreement with the last concessionaire fell apart.