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The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Abdulkadir Muazu, has revealed that Nigeria has a lot of dormant gold site in need of genuine investors to develop.
Speaking at the Gold West Africa Conference with theme: ‘The future of African Gold- Developing the West African Gold Economy’ in Abuja, he averred that if Nigeria can come up with good policies and regulations, the gold mining sector can broaden the nation’s revenue base.
The conference organized by Kian Smith Gold Refinery and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, saw industry experts adopt early harmonisation of regulations, implementation of stability measures, tax free carry, and license duration would boost the sector.
Muazu recalled that “In Nigeria, gold production started in 1913, was at its peak in 1933/1934 and declined during 2nd World War period, from which it never recovered.
“Indeed, over 20 old mines have been abandoned since the 1940s, which leaves gold mining an artisanal activity.
However, the Perm Sec was quick to stress that “Strategic collaborations with private sector would address this challenge and help convert the small miners into some viable enterprise,” noting that partnerships with genuine stakeholders like Khan Smith Initiative have what it takes to unlock and develop potentials in the Nigerian gold value chain.
He argued that “With strong collaborations like this, Nigeria can move from exploitation to value addition then finance. This action in the value chain will drive maximum benefit potentially available in core mining sector.
The Perm Sec averred that “Gold mining is a high risk sector. It has long maturation and dominated by informal men but has the potential to take people out of poverty and create more employment. In doing this, we need to ensure that we protect our environment and the small miners or labourers to prevent exploitation at the expense of their health or that of their children.”
In her address, Vice Chairman, Kian Smith Gold Refinery, Nere Teriba, said upon the current decline in world gold mine production, West Africa’s gold production has been increasing.
She noted that “For the region to truly benefit from this lucrative resource, it will be imperative that a vision and action plan is mapped out that ensures empowerment and sustainability, while creating an enabling environment for West Africa gold producing and trading countries to become stakeholders in global gold market.”
In their submission, participants argued that observed violent activities of illegal miners as well as ineffective implementation of policies in the solid minerals sector have been driving the huge loss of revenue and slow-paced development of the sector.
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