Oscarline Onwuemenyi 30 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government has disclosed plans to introduce an online application for mining licences for investors in the solid minerals sector, in line with its efforts to enhance participation in the sector for economic diversification.
Director General, Mining Cadastral Office, MCO, Engr. Mohammed Amate, who disclosed this in Abuja, stated that the online application platform was included in the agency’s 2016 budget, adding that efforts have been made to enhance the ease of obtaining licences and mining operations in the country.
The MCO boss assured investors that they will no longer come to the office to submit their applications for mining licences, but would rather apply and submit their forms from the comfort of their homes or offices.
He said, “You discover an open area, and if the area is covered we will tell you, we have areas the then Nigeria Mining Corporation had done some work, and every process to get a mining licence is open and transparent.
“Once you meet the requirements you can be rest assured to get your licence. Investors should have 100 percent confidence on the MCO. After you have submitted your application you don’t need to go to anybody, your application speaks for you.”
He added that “Plans are under way to open zonal offices, and in any case what we intend to do because in the next year or two are our plans that nobody will come to our office and apply for licences.
“You can sit down in the comfort of your office and submit an application online, from any part of the world and within 30 or 40 days you will be notified whether you are granted or not, and we are in discussions with our consultants, and is in our 2016 budget.”
The MCO boss decried the attitude of some investors who do not come to apply for mining licences and believes on what people tell them and which are not true. “A lot of people don’t want to visit us and submit their application, but send people who can tell them all sorts of things and I can assure you; seeing is believing.
“We encourage them to come to us anytime and our desk officers will promptly respond to them and they will believe more in the transparent manner we carry out our duties because there is no ‘shifting of goal post’ in MCO”, he stated.
He also urged companies with mining licences to make use of them by actively operating in the mining sites and not to keep the sites dormant.
“If you are not ready to allow others that are ready to have it, and anytime you are ready you can come, and the opportunities are there, and we will not allow you to sit on the licences you are not using”, he said.