NIGERIA is seeking to become a major gold-producing hub in West Africa based on its huge gold deposits and human resources, a senior official said late on Monday.
This would diversify the country’s revenue base from crude oil and create jobs for its youthful population, said Olamilekan Adegbite, minister of mines and steel development, while addressing the media.
Adegbite said the government had licensed two gold refineries that would refine gold for the London market.
Nigeria has abundant untapped gold deposits. According to the 2016 Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Industry, Nigeria’s gold mine resource is estimated at 200 million ounces, while only 0.14 million ounces have been exploited.
However, rampant illegal mining has been hurting the gold mining industry. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in mid-July reiterated the government’s resolve to end illegal mining activities in the country, expressing concern that Nigeria lost close to $3bn from 2012 to 2018 due to the smuggling of gold.