. . . as Director-General, Engr. O. S. Nkom Discusses Reforms in Mineral Licensing
The Director-General of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (MCO), Engr. Obadiah Simon Nkom won global acclaim for Nigeria as he presented game-changing reforms in the country’s mineral-licensing system to a global audience of investors and policy makers at the Mining Indaba, in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday February 7, 2023.
Francis Kadiri reports.
The Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office is responsible for the administration and management of mineral licenses in Nigeria. The crucial importance of transparent administration of mining titles cannot be overemphasized as it is a gateway to lawful mining in country. This is because mining without government permit is criminal and punishable by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Therefore, the crucial importance of the MCO as a mineral licensing Agency cannot be overemphasized especially that it hands out authority to myriads of investors who wish to make lawful investments in order to profit from the sector.
The Director-General of the MCO, Engr. Obadiah Simon Nkom who addressed the global audience at the Investing-In-Africa-Mining-Indaba in South Africa on Wednesday, won respect for Nigeria as he treated the audience to the goals of the electronic mining cadastre (eMC+) system in Nigeria, by which he meant the digitalization of the mineral licensing operations of the MCO.
In his presentation at the world forum, titled, “Online Mineral Title Administration,” Engr. Nkom emphasized the commitment of the Federal Government to creating seamless investment climate for mining investors, stating that the eMC+ platform of the MCO was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 1, 2022, noting that the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo represented the president at the ceremony.
He described the features on the eMC+ as “an electronic management system which assists the administration of Mineral Titles in a responsible, efficient and transparent manner, throughout the life cycle of the titles.”
The Director General stated: “Today, the Mining Cadastre Office has fully implemented the new electronic Mining Cadastre system, and has conducted stakeholder sensitization workshops, for the sustainable adoption of the new system to further enhance economic growth and ease of doing business in the Nigerian mining sector.”
Discussing the benefits of the newly deployed online mining cadastre system, Nkom, who is a Fellow of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, said the technical benefits include improved scalability and reduction in total cost of operation, adding that it generates real time cadastral updates for the general public as well as total absence of proprietary technical components.
He said the MCO benefits from the eMC+ in a number of ways, stating: “By virtue of the eMC+, the MCO is able to integrate the six Zonal Offices while also increasing transparency, efficiency and service delivery,” adding that the system also enhances improved information sharing with other government bodies.
According to the Director-General and Fellow of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, “The eMC+ enhances sharing of information with the web portals of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), the Mines Inspectorate Department (MID), the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and also the portal of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).”
Nkom, who served as President of the Nigeria Mining and Geoscience Society (NMGS) further discussed the operational benefits of the eMC+ saying that it guarantees reduction in the duration of processing applications.
He said through automated notifications and alerts it gives to MCO officers, the eMC+ aids efficiency in the administration of mineral titles.
While encouraging investors at the forum to take advantage of the ease of doing business afforded by the eMC+, the Director-General said applications for mineral titles can be made via laptop, desktops, mobile phones by visiting the user friendly portal of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office via www.miningcadastre.gov.ng.
Discussing how to register or create a profile on eMC+, the he said applicants should “click on the ‘Register’ in order to create a company profile and company representative profile,” adding that a message of Account Activation is automatically sent to the applicant after a profile is successfully created.
Engr Nkom also demonstrated the ease with which a prospective investor can seamlessly submit an application for mineral title via the eMC+ system of the MCO, and informed the audience that secure payments can be made via Remita or Interswitch on verve or Mastercards, adding that payments can also be made via credit cards.
He said the adoption of the eMC+ signals a new dawn of mineral licensing in the country, stating that from November 1, 2022 when eMC+ was unveiled to January 30, 2023, the Agency received a total of 1,937 applications. He explained that the figure is the sum of 651 applications submitted online three months after the unveiling and another 1,276 applications submitted over the counter.
The Director General encouraged investors from around the world to take advantage of the reforms in the Nigeria mining sector and consider investing in Nigeria’s lucrative solid mineral sector, stating that the MCO is willing to grant applications provided that they satisfy the requirement.
According to him, the Mining Cadastre Office grants six types of mineral titles as follows: Reconnaissance Permit (RP) which is non-exclusive with lifespan of 1 year, and renewable on annual basis in line with the law; Exploration License (EL) covering 200KM-square (960Cu max) which is exclusive with lifespan of 3 years, and is renewable in line with the law, twice for 2 years each; Quarry Lease (QL) covering 5km-square (25Cu max), which is exclusive with 5year lifespan and renewable in line with the law; Small Scale Mining Lease (SSML) covering 3km square (15Cu max), exclusive with 5year lifespan and renewals in line with the law; Mining Lease (ML) covering 50km square (250Cu max), with Exclusive life span of 25 years, and renewals in line with the law; and Water Use Permit (WUP) for Mining Operations which has life span as the Mineral Title for which use it is intended, and renewals in line with the law.
Engr. Nkom who thanked his global audience for their attention, said the MCO looks forward to receiving their applications for mineral titles.