The Federal Government says it would establish gold souks (markets) in Kano and Lagos for trading of locally mined gold in Nigeria.
The Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite disclosed this on Friday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during a media roadshow to intimate journalists on his Ministry’s activities.
He noted that the aim of the project is to diversify the economy from oil and gas to gold.
The Minister noted that, President Muhammadu Buhari had given 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 said “About two three months ago, we presented a bar of gold to President Muhammadu 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.
“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.”