The Federal Government
said it has licensed two gold refinery firms to produce the metal for export
and for the central bank to hold in its reserves, the mines minister said on Wednesday.
The Minister of Mines
and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite, said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
would be the main off-taker of the gold to be produced by the companies,
holding some of the gold in its reserves. “We have licensed two refineries in
Nigeria. They will refine gold and of course produce bullion that the CBN can
buy at international prices,” he said.
He said one of the
refineries was in Abuja, which is in the centre of the country, and the other
is in the south-western state of Ogun. Adegbite did not provide any further
Last year, Nigeria’s
first gold refinery being built by Kian Smith Trade & Co Limited commenced
construction work on its refinery and was set to be completed by the end of
June 2020. The refinery would start with a production capacity of three tonnes
per month of 99.99 per cent gold and one ton per month production of 99.99 per
A total of 26 gold refineries are now either operating or under construction across 14 countries to process metal produced by informal diggers.
Nigeria has largely untapped deposits of 44 minerals including gold, iron ore, coal, tin and zinc, in more than 500 locations. But most of the mining is artisanal and the absence of gold refineries means value typically has not been added in the supply chain.
Earlier this month,
Adegbite said Nigeria expects its mining sector to grow to 3% of GDP within the
next five years from just 0.3% currently as the government seeks to diversify
Africa’s largest economy away from its reliance on crude oil sales.
Gold, lead, zinc, limestone and coal are among seven strategic minerals Nigeria has identified for investment.