By Michael Adesanya/Abeokuta
The Federal government is working to attract both foreign and local investment in gold exploration and mining as part of moves to diversify the nation’s economy from petroleum.
The Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite who stated this in Abeokuta on Friday, disclosed that the Federal government has concluded plans to establish souks in Lagos and Kano States for trading of locally mined gold in Nigeria.
The Minister stated this during a media parley to intimate journalists on the activities of his Ministry.
Adegbite noted that, President Mohammadu Buhari gave his Ministry the mandate of generating employment, revenue and diversifying the nation’s economy from oil and gas.
This, he said prompted his Ministry to go into gold exploration and mining in Kano State, with the view of boosting the foreign reserve of the country.
According to him, Nigeria recorded a huge success in gold exploration and mining in Kano State recently, adding that the gold was artisanally mined and processed into a bullion bar which was later sold to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for N168million.
With this feat, the Minister said Nigeria could be one of the leading countries in gold production.
He disclosed that Nigeria is partnering with the German government to train 45 Nigerians in gold mining and processing for nine months.
Adegbite warned miners to desist from illegal mining, saying that the federal government would continue to arrest and prosecute anybody involved in illegal mining activities.
His words, “About two three months ago, we presented a bar of gold to President Mohammadu Buhari. This is the first time in Nigeria that artisanally mined gold, gold that was mined in Nigeria, sourced in Nigeria is being processed, refined to London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) standard. LBMA is the international word standard for gold and it was done into a bullion bar.
“And the gold was subsequently purchased by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for N168million. What this demonstrated is that we can increase Nigerian’s foreign reserve not just through oil and gas but also through gold. Gold is valued in dollars and it will be added to the reserve base of Nigeria.
“It is possible for us to use gold to also increase our reserve base.
He added “We are encouraging investors to come and invest in gold mining. Gold refined to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) standard is sold internationally, it is like currency itself. God is as good as cash.
Another aspect of gold that we are working on to fulfil our mandate is to turn into jewelries and ornaments”.
“We are bringing in experts from Germany to train 45 Nigerians on how to turn gold into jewelries and ornaments. We are training the trainers, we have selected 45 people across the country and each State is represented.
“We are training these 45 people, we will provide equipments for them, training materials and they will be the ones to go back to the States and train people in their States on how to make jewelries.
“These jewelries when they are made will create a local market in Nigeria.
“We are going to build souks in Kano and Lagos States where people can come from anywhere in the world to buy jewelries.
“This is creating employment, creating value and at the same time generating revenue for government”.
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