The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, has said that the federal government is creating a gold ecosystem that will minimise the high rate of illegal gold mining in the country as well as link small scale miners to markets.
He said the gold ecosystem would also bring about an increase in government revenue, create jobs as well as improve environmental and social stewardship.
The minister made this known at the Nigerian Economic Summit Group webinar with the theme: Post COVID-19 Nigeria: impact and opportunities on the mining industry recently.
"Government priority is currently anchored in the gold sector and through the ongoing Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Initiative (PAGMI) we are organising, formalising, and equipping Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Miners (ASGMs) in Kaduna, Kebbi, Osun, Niger and Zamfara States."Adegbite said.
He assured that miners of precious, metallic and industrial minerals would be linked to formal markets through licensed private mineral buying centres such as Kian Smith and Dukia Gold Limited, located in Ogun state and the FCT, which had been granted licenses to refine gold and are in the process of building their refineries.
In his remarks, the president of Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), Alhaji Kabiru Kankara, attributed the challenges of artisanal and small scale miners to lack of equipment, capacity building and funding.
Kankara called on the government to replicate the support being given to the agricultural sector in terms of the Anchor Borrower Scheme in the mining sector. So that ASM could have something to start with.
He advocated for a synergy between the Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) in terms of raw materials for the local industries.