Nigeria: Review of Nigeria's Mining Act Underway - Osinbajo

18 November 2021

The announcement is coming at a time experts called for an amendment of the Act.

Towards ensuring growth and investment in the mining sector, the federal government has announced that the amendment of the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act (NMMA) is underway.

This was disclosed on Tuesday by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the opening ceremony of the 5th annual mining week, themed; "Seven Compelling Reasons to Invest in Nigeria's Mining Sector."

The announcement is coming at a time experts have consistently reiterated the call for an amendment of the Act.

They said the current mining laws do not conform to the modern-day reality of global best practices, and by implication hampers the growth and development of the mining industry.

Mr Osinbajo at the virtual event revealed that the development of the sector is an important component of the nation's economic policy. He said the mining sector features prominently in the National Development Plan 2021 to 2025, as approved by the Federal Executive Council about a week ago.

He said: "Concurrently, there is an ongoing review of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act 2007, aimed at bringing legislation into conformity with global best practices, limiting the role of the government to that of regulation, and creating the space for the private sector to maintain a more expansive presence in the sector.

"So as we deepen our efforts to revitalize the mining sector, we are doing so with lessons learned from a half-century of resource extraction. We recognize, for instance, that it is not enough to seek investments merely for the sake of exploitation and extraction. Rather than writing this new chapter of economic growth, our aim is to develop local industries, generate employment, and focus on resource beneficiation to create wealth along the mineral value chain.

"The Mining Roadmap Implementation Strategy Team (MIST), a team set up in 2016 to implement the roadmap, stated in the report that: "there may be the need to review some of the laws as contained in the Mining Act of 2007 as they may no longer be achievable given the current business operating environment."

He said the team had noted that lack of enforcement of the enabling laws leads to the failings of the Mining Act.

Nigeria's mining law

The Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act 2007 was re-enacted to repeal the Minerals and Mining Act No. 34 of 1999 for the purpose of regulating all aspects of the exploration and exploitation of solid minerals in Nigeria.

However, despite the gloomy view by the general public, the sector has recorded tremendous growth since the inception of the current administration as noted by the Vice President who cited "notable inflow of investments and increase in revenue generation."

He said: "It is significant that within the space of a year, we have recorded a 26.7 per cent increase in revenue generation from N2.56 billion in 2019 to N3.242 billion in 2020. But while this is encouraging, we recognise that there is still a lot of work to be done. This is why this forum is so important."

Minister speaks

Likewise, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), Olamilekan Adegbite, said the ministry is building a "globally competitive mining sector through policy reforms that are geared towards creating a viable business environment for potential investors".

According to him, "this is being done by adhering religiously to the mining roadmap".

He said: "We have indeed created a very business-friendly environment in the mining sector through reforms that grew out of the roadmap for the growth and development of the Nigerian mining industry."

As part of the milestone achieved since the assumption of office, the minister highlighted some notable achievements in the sector.

He said: "We launched the Made in Nigeria Barite in Port Harcourt, as part of our modest efforts towards the development of industrial minerals. This initiative is expected to spur the promotion and growth of local content, boosting the economy with a corresponding increase in revenue.

"The ministry will also commission an open marketplace portal that will connect all stakeholders along the barite value chain to a hub that allows for easy coordination, stocking, effective costing, and seamless sale of barite, as we adhere to the ease of doing business initiative.

"We have commenced one pilot project per geopolitical zone in order to enhance local content along the mineral value chain. This is in line with our mandate to fast-track mineral processing in the country using a cluster approach. Each cluster will be equipped with modern equipment and technologies to support a network of miners, processors, skills development providers, logistics providers, among others."

He said Nigeria has operationalised an Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) Remote Sensing Monitoring System to regulate and support ASM activities.

"Through the Nigeria Integrated Exploration Programme (NIMEP), we are building a strong geoscience base to enhance our competitiveness as a world-class mineral exploration destination that foreign investors would find attractive," Mr Adegbite added.

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