TOYIN ADEBAYO, ABUJA
The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has revealed that Nigeria has potential reserves of 200 million ounces of gold and that the launch of the expansive project, Dukia Gold, would create new opportunities for Nigeria to mine her gold reserves properly, trade responsibly and refine locally.
Vice President made this know at a virtual commissioning of the Dukia Gold and Precious Metals Project project on Tuesday in Abuja.
He hinted that, “The Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refinery Project, championed by the High Commissions of Nigeria and Canada, has been seven years in the making and it is my pleasure to see that the project is ready to begin operations”.
According to him, “the Dukia Gold project would encourage the emergence of smaller-scale mining companies who, for the first time, would have a transparent and welcoming market for their mined gold and precious metals. This, he said would create jobs and unleash the economic potential of mining communities.
He stated that,“will create primary employment for local artisanal miners and mining cooperatives across the solid minerals value chain. Off-take agreements between Dukia Gold and local mining communities and owners of recyclable gold will be a useful provider of jobs in our post-covid economy.”
The Vice President also commissioned the nationwide Dukia-Heritage Bank Gold and Precious Metals Buying Centres which is part of a valuable private sector collaboration.
The buying centre is to provide a sustainable way for Nigerians to exchange their gold jewellery and other precious items for cash. “This system of exchange not only helps encourage a culture of recycling, but will also serve as a complementary source for the raw materials needed for the Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Company”, he added.
Osinbajo , however, promised that the Federal Government would provide support and facilitate policies that would ensure successful deployment, implementation, and sustainable operations of the Dukia Gold Project as well as continuous support of the mining sector.
Earlier, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, in his remarks, said the launch of Dukia-Heritage Bank Gold and Precious Metals Buying Centres is a testament of the unwavering effort of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to serve as a business friendly regulator, providing the enabling environment for business to thrive.
Adegbite hinted that the Buying Centre Initiative (BCI) would bring about efficiency and transparency to physical trading and transactions of mineral commodities.
According to him, “buying centre with minimum guaranteed price thresholds also ensures that Artisanal miners receive the right pricing for their goods relative to illegal off takers” This, he believed, would break the status quo of illegal mining and increasing royalty revenue accrual to the federal government.
He further added that in line with President’s mandates to diversify the economy, create jobs and increase revenue generation, the Minister said his ministry has licensed two gold refineries and has equally been creating a conducive fiscal and regulatory enabling environment for them to thrive. “We expect that these two refineries will create ample employment opportunities in the downstream sector and in the gold value chain.
“Dukia is one of the two duly licensed gold refiners in Nigeria. They have developed an encompassing ecosystem, consisting of nationwide DukiaHB Buying Centres alongside the virtual Purchasing Platform, that together form an integral centre-piece.”
“This initiative by Dukia and Heritage bank is the beginning of a seamless integration between the mining and banking sectors, which needs to be encouraged and applauded,” he emphasized.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Minister of State, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, said Nigeria is blessed with abundant mineral resources waiting to be harnessed for economic development.
He commended the partnership between Dukia Gold and Heritage Bank and hopeful that it would serve as a success model for building strong private business conglomerates that would transform not only the gold value chain, but entire mineral sector into a global competitive mining destination of repute.
Also, the Managing Director of Dukia Gold, Bose Owolabi said the company would work with its refining partners and stakeholders to ensure that the project was fully implemented and met international standards. She added that the Heritage Bank Raw Materials Buying Centres would be opened at designated branches of the bank across the country as from Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Company Limited which is located at the Abuja International Airport is set out to work with miners to ensure access to appropriate Plant, Machinery, Equipment, and support among others.