The federal government has asked those it classified as speculators to leave mine fields in the country for serious investors to take over.
Director-general and chief executive officer of the Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) Engr Obadiah Simon Nkom gave the directive when the executives of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) led by its President, Alh. Kabiru Mohammed Kankara, paid him a courtesy visit recently in Abuja.
Nikon in a statement said MCO has the responsibility of ensuring that active mine sites are secured for serious investors, entreating stakeholders to join hands with the government in carrying out its plan to diversify the economy through the mining sector.
He said "We have many operators who are misusing licenses given to them and this is where we must draw a line between inefficiency and ineptitude, even as much as we want to encourage many miners in the industry those that don't have business in mining should leave and let the mines field be cleared".
While commending the courage exhibited by the association, the MCO boss said all the issues brought to the table by the association to secure waiver for members because of Covid -19 pandemic and the security challenges in some parts of the country cannot be treated in isolation but with adherence to the policies of the Mining Act.
He assured of the Agency's readiness to collaborate with MAN, but warned that community consent must be sought at mine sites to forestall crisis.
Commending the effort of Engr Nkom towards repositioning MCO, Alhaji Mohammed lamented the shortcomings caused by Covid-19 pandemic, inaccessibility of the N30 billion Intervention for the Artisanal and Small Scale Miners "due to the bureaucratic bottlenecks of the managing institution" as well as security challenges faced by operators in different parts of the country.
The MAN President, while pledging its continued commitment to collaborate and cooperate with MCO, appealed for waiver for the years 2020 and 2021 annual service fees for all applicable extant Mineral Titles and review of the deadline for the settlement of all outstanding indebtedness on Mineral Titles service fees.
In attendance were the Management Staff of MCO, the Director General of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Dr. Garuba Abdulrasaq and the Senior Special Adviser to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olu Adedayo.