Various mining companies operating in different parts of the country have expressed grave concern over the cancellation of mining licenses and have threatened to cease operations and eventually pull out of the country in the next couple of months because of what they referred to as the excesses of the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources in cancelling mining licenses.
In an exclusive interview with many CEOs of these mining companies operating in the country to get their take about the cancellation of mining licenses by the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, they all expressed strong reservations and even threatened to unleash Plan B, to pull out, if the action of the Minister continues.
According to reliable sources, the Minister’s action is influenced by certain officials in the Ministry who because of obvious reasons are not comfortable with the operations of many genuine mining companies. Since these individuals, who used to get kickbacks from mining companies, are no longer benefitting this has led them to be very aggrieved and are doing everything possible to persuade the Minister to go after those companies.
The CEOs furthered that the action of the Minister to cancel mining licenses is a breach of the mining laws because according to them there are procedures as to how a mining license can be cancelled which is clearly indicated in the National Minerals Agency Act 2009 .As a matter of fact the Agency has a Board charged with the responsibility to look at general issues in the Mining industry.
They noted that even if the Board wants to take such a radical action to cancel or revoke any mining licenses it should meet and thoroughly look at any issue reported against a company to decide if there is any breach that must warrant revoking or cancelling the mining license of that company.
“We firmly believe that the National Mineral Agency has the powers and authority to take such action and not singlehandedly by the Minister of Mines and Minerals Resources,” one of them intimated.
Most mining companies have their investment partners overseas and such an action by the Minister, if it continues unabated ,will certainly drive off or even scare genuine investors wanting to come with their huge capital investment portfolios in the country thereby depriving the government from getting much needed revenue as well stifling job opportunities for youths in the country.
How could he as a new Minister just embark on such an action to cancel mining licenses when those licenses were officially given to these companies after complying with all the policies and laws governing the mining industry in the country, is what another investor rhetorically asked.