THE Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has lamented huge losses the country makes over illicit gold trading.
Fayemi made this known at his recent 2017 End of Year Ministerial Briefing held at the Ministry's headquarters in Abuja.
According to him, the vast majority of the country's gold resources were transacted underground without any record of financial accrual to the country.
He said the government will ensure the losses were plugged in order to attract investors to the industry with the setting up of the Gold Purchase Scheme, GPS, in collaboration with the states.
Fayemi stated that the pilot states for the scheme include Kebbi and Osun States, which will also generate employment, reduce poverty and increase revenue to the Federation account.
"In partnership with some state governments and the private sector is a Gold Purchase scheme. The mandate of the scheme will include equipping of the artisanal miners; provision of extension services; and the off-take of all the gold produced by the participants in the scheme. The aim is to facilitate employment creation, poverty reduction, and increase in revenue to the federation account.
"Towards the accomplishment of this presidential mandate, the FMMSD has extensively reorganized the Mining Inspectorate (MID); and Artisanal Small-Scale Mining (ASM); departments and set up an Investment Promotion and Mineral Trade department (IPMT). A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) would be licensed by government to manage the gold purchase scheme."
The Minister also disclosed that in 2018, the ministry would undertake extensive Electromagnetic Airborne Geophysical Survey, EAGS, in prospecting parts of the country with the aim to work with competent consultants to deploy logistical and technical equipment with radiometric, magnetic, electromagnetic and allied capabilities, to capture and provide analysis of the geology of Nigeria, and the mineralization of the areas covered, which also the ministry has been working assiduously to equip the National Geosciences Research Laboratories (NGRL), Kaduna that would fast-track the process of mining operations in the country.