By Victoria Onehi
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite has said 90% of Mining activities in the country could safely be said to be Artisanal and small-scale mining ((ASM ) driven.
Adegbite revealed this in his speech at the commissioning of the Gold-processing plant at Mopa Muro in Kogi state yesterday
“These landmark projects are to create an enabling environment to support the Mining Industry through the formalisation of the ASM Sub-sector as a major driver of the key growth parameters to engender the development of the Mining Sector since over 90% of the Mining activities in the country could safely be said to be ASM driven.”Adegbite said.
The Minister noted that the informal trading of unprocessed gold leads to capital flights and job losses .Hence, it is in a bid to develop the downstream mining sector to improve product pricing, create jobs, improve revenue generation and attract foreign markets to Nigeria that the Gold processing plant was established.
Adegbite further said the project houses several Federal Government initiatives geared towards formalising the ASM activities, curbing the exploitation of artisanal and small-scale gold miners as well as development of the capacities of the teaming youths to actively participate in downstream gold value chain.
” It will interest you to note that this project is designed based on the cluster concept which has become a global trend in industrial development to promote shared amenities, agglomeration of similar producers, customers etc. based on geographical proximity or access to complementary expertise to promote efficiency and increase specialization and production.
“It is instructive to know that Gold Processing Plant is designed with facilities to beneficiate, test, certify, document, effect necessary payments for royalties and processing fees required to support direct international businesses. The facility houses state-of-the-art gold processing machineries and equipment, over 30 stalls, administrative block, training section, MMSD office, stable power supply, etc.” Adegbite said.
He noted that the choice of Mopa as a location for the gold processing plant is predicated on its central position on the Schist Belt which trends from the northwest through western Kogi State to southwest Nigeria.
The Nigeria Schist Belt is known to host rich deposits of gold. With the location of the gold processing plant in Mopa, artisanal and small-scale gold operators within the Schist Belt states can easily have access to the plant for their gold processing and refining.