The various incentives provided by the Federal Government to attract foreign investors into the mining industry in Nigeria have started yielding results, as the nation is set to export its first mined gold.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, made this known at a webinar monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Adegbite spoke at a virtual interactive session, organised by Lagos Business School (Sustainability Centre), on Thursday evening.
The programme was tagged: “An Evening with the Minister of Mines and Steel Development.”
Its theme was: “Nigeria in Challenging Times: The Contributions of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and Opportunities for Private Sector Participation.”
NAN reports that the forum is part of LBS Public Sector Engagement, designed to promote more public-private sector dialogue and partnership to enhance Nigeria’s inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development.
Adegbite said that the gold production started in August by Segilola Resort in Ilesa, Osun.
According to him, through the various incentives that the federal government has provided, foreign investors have been attracted foreign into the country.
“Foremost among them is the Tour Exploration that is working in Osun. It is quoted on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
“They are the owners of Segilola Resort in Ilesa. Gold production started at Segilola in August.
“Right now, they are producing gold. The facility there can produce between 80,000 and 100,000 ounces of gold per annum which can be sent abroad or sold locally to interested buyers.
“The first consignment of locally-produced gold is now at the port for exportation.
“Formerly, gold mining operation in the locality was done manually by artisans, through which government had lost lots of revenue.
“But, with this company in place now, their activities are transparent. Government is making about three per cent royalty. We know what we can generate from the gold production now, unlike before,” he said.
On gemstones, Adegbite said that the federal government was creating a formal market in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, to stop ridiculous buying and raw importation of the minerals.
According to him, the market is being constructed at a speed to stop importation of raw gemstones.
“We are also training our people in cutting of the stones and their polishing into jewellery. We are adding values to it instead of allowing them to be exported at give-away prices by foreigners.
“We have an informal market for our gemstones in Ibadan where people come from all over the world to buy them.
“What they do is just to buy the gemstones in raw form without weighing it. As a result, they don’t pay the right price, because they are in raw form, without regards to the actual value of the stones on the scale.
“They don’t pay the right price; they are just cheating our people,” the minister said.
Adegbite, however, warned the communities hosting the various mineral resources not to scare away the investors with frivolous demands.
He said: “I advise the host communities hosting our minerals to desist from making too many demands that can scare away the investors from their communities.
“We are not saying that you should not ask for development of your areas.
“We have put measures in place for prospective investors. You cannot mine in Nigeria now without the consent of the affected communities.
“But, what we are doing in the ministry is to moderate. Demands by host communities from investors must be moderated. This is to ensure that investors do not exploit the communities.” (NAN)