Nigeria is set to commence gold production in 2021 after the launch of the Segilola Gold Project in Osun state. The Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite disclosed this while taking stock of his first year in office as Minister.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, Adegbite said that the project is expected to create about direct 400 direct jobs and 1000 indirect jobs along the gold value chain.
He also assured that once the project takes off, Nigeria would become a major gold producing country, a move that would hasten the diversification of the economy and reduce unemployment among the youth populace.
He noted that the government was creating an enabling environment across the gold value chain. According to him, “the international roadshows we have had in the past have borne fruits. Today we have Thor exploration in Osun State through the Segilola Gold project, which is projected to start producing in the first half of next year.”
The minister also noted that the government has licensed two gold refineries to refine gold to the London Bullion Market Association, LBMA, standard.
About the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, Adegbite explained that the global travel restriction caused by the pandemic had prevented the technical experts from Russia from coming over to the plant to conduct an audit of the steel plant. He assured that this would be done as soon as the flight restriction was over, and there are hopes to revive the plant before the expiration of President Buhari’s tenure.
The take-off of gold production in Nigeria is expected to open up an industry centered around gold production, from equipment leasing and repairs, logistics, and transport. Note that gold requires a specialized means of transport, security, insurance, aggregators among others. These, according to Adegbite, would ultimately create tens of thousands of jobs across the gold value chain.
The minister further stated that Nigeria has mined, processed, and refined gold under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative, PAGMI. The first batch of PAGMI gold was unveiled at a presentation ceremony to President Buhari on July 16, 2020.
The gold produced is expected to become a part of Nigeria’s external reserve after being purchased by the Central Bank.
“PAGMI will result in the creation of thousands of new mining and formalized jobs, leading to poverty alleviation for many households. Under the scheme, artisanal and small scale gold miners will earn more from higher productivity, better recovery rates through mechanization of operations, and better access to reliable geological information,” he said.