The Federal Government said it would provide an enabling environment for gold mining activities so that Nigeria’s refinery can go into full production to deliver its product by the first quarter of 2021.
In addition, it added that any Nigerian or state government can apply process to the Ministry to buy any mineral, especially the acquisition of gold from Zamfara State, which is open to all citizens, and foreign investors.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, who said this, told journalists in Abuja, ahead of 5th Annual Nigeria Mining Week that bandits are used to buy the gold at cheap rates, and sell it to purchase guns and ammunition.
He also said the gold found in Zamfara State belonged to the Federal Government, adding that the Governor was taking the right steps in the right direction; and has gotten the narrative right, too.
On the N2.5 billion loan with the Bank of Industry for artisanal miners, the Minister hinted that the interest is now N3.2 billion, saying, they have received complaints that miners find it difficult to access the money.
According to him, they met with the bank officials for them to lower the entry requirements, as only 10 small scale miners received between N2 million and N5 million, while 20 were selected to benefit from the loan.
Also speaking, Associate Director, Energy Utilities and Resources, Habeeb Jaiyeola, said the gains of Nigeria mining week cannot be quantified because the industry has been marketed to the global community, and mineral business is taking its prime place.
He said: “We have identified Nigeria’s problems, and they are being discussed holistically, and solutions are equally proffered. The government has taken matters arising from several discussions seriously to move the sector forward.”
On her part, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. (Mrs) Oluwatoyin Akinlade, said despite the coronavirus pandemic, they were able to organise the mining week, thanking the media for promoting the event.