"High profile mines in Nigeria had been licensed to those that do not possess the requisite capacity to develop them and the time frame given to develop them had since expired".
Vice President Namadi Sambo on Tuesday said government would soon cancel all the licences of under-performing miners across the country.
Mr. Sambo stated this when the leadership of the Dangote Group, led by Aliko Dangote, paid him a courtesy call at the State House, Abuja.
He said the licences would be cancelled to attract more serious investors in the mining sector.
The vice president expressed government's readiness to provide incentives to the private sector in the development of coal mining for electricity generation.
He, therefore, challenged the Dangote Group to take advantage of the opportunities in the nation's mining sector by investing in the sector.
Mr. Sambo commended the Dangote Group for its huge investment in sugar plantation in the country, saying such investment would create employment opportunities to millions of Nigerians.
He reassured that government would continue to provide incentives to the private sector for the development of the Nigerian economy.
He congratulated the group on its plan to undertake concrete road projects, saying such projects would address the problems associated with routine road maintenance in the country.
Mr. Sambo further assured the group of government's readiness to partner the private sector on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement in the execution of capital projects, especially in the areas of infrastructural development.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the group, Aliko Dangote, announced the company's interest in the development of the Nigerian mining sector.
He said that "high profile mines in Nigeria had been licensed to those that do not possess the requisite capacity to develop them and the time frame given to develop them had since expired".
He added that the firm had entered into a partnership with Andre de Coulters, one of the leading companies responsible for about 44,000 megawatts of electricity, about a third of Brazil's power generation capacity.
Mr. Dangote further said that the group had acquired about 260,000 hectares of land to develop sugar plantations in Adamawa and Taraba.
According to him, plans are under way by the group to acquire more land in Bauchi and Yobe states for sugar plantation upon the completion of the Kafin Zaki Dam.
He said that about 56,000 hectares of land had also been acquired in Kebbi and payment for compensation to those affected had commenced.
Mr. Dangote further disclosed that 50,000 hectares of land were also acquired in Kogi and Kwara for the sugarcane plantation while plans were under way to acquire more in Jigawa and Sokoto states.
According to Mr. Dangote, the plantations are planned to produce about 1.5 million tonnes of sugar, ethanol, bio-compost and animal feeds.
He said the plantations would generate about 360 megawatts, which he said, was above the firm's requirements.
He said the firm would require about 240 megawatts while the remaining 120 megawatts would be transferred to the national grid for distribution to the host communities.
Dangote also said that the group planned to establish rice plantation in Edo and Niger.
"Already, we have acquired about 50,000 hectares of land in Niger state for the rice plantation," he said.