***says construction takes off in Ogun, Abuja
By: Bamidele Fashube
The Nigerian government on Tuesday says it has granted two companies licenses for gold refinery in line with the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative,( PAGMI).
It said already,construction has commenced in Ogun and Abuja respectively, with plans to issue more licenses to interested business firms.
The Minister of Mines and Steels Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite made the disclosure during a media interactive session in Abuja.
According to him, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the current off-taker, while other firms can also off-take Gold.
He said: “So essentially what this gives to us is that in future we do not have to take the Gold out of the country to refine like we did this time which it was refined in Turkey. These two refineries who gained the certification so that they can produce this kind of bullion and then the CBN can buy.
“Essentially in all furtherance our mandate that is to create employment for our people from the value chain I mentioned; refinery, buying centres will of course create employment.”
While stressing the potentials inherent in gold business, he noted that with the soaring price of gold at the international market, which currently is about $2, 000 per ounce, its price may further increase to $3, 000 per ounce by 2021.
“Furthermore, the artisanal miners who are bringing out this Gold will also be better enumerated because they get better compensation for their wins thereby encouraging others. Through this process create employment, and at the same time generate revenue for the government. How do we do that?
“Apart from the little royalties and taxes government get is also a way for the country earn foreign exchange without having to sell crude oil like in the past, but through this Gold is highly valued now as of yesterday Gold almost touched $2, 000 per ounce and is on the rise, and people are even speculating that Gold might hit $3, 000.”
He noted that some investors already have indicated interest in the trade and have undergone some licensing screening.
The Minister also added that the Ministry is already fulfilling its mandate of diversifying the economy from oil and gas to solid minerals, which Gold is leading and other industrial minerals.
“That is fulfilling our mandate, diversifying from oil and gas, creating employment for people and at the same time generating revenue for the government. This is the major mandate for the Ministry”, he said.