For the first time in history, Nigeria has refined its own gold and purchased the refined product into a new gold reserve.
On Thursday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) presented a cheque of N268 million for the country’s first artisanally-mined and refined gold to the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMDI) at the launch of the gold purchase programme in Abuja.
The 12.5kg gold bar was processed and refined according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) standards required for the use of gold as a reserve instrument by the CBN, officials said.
Pres. Buhari launched the PAGMDI, a comprehensive artisanal and small-scale gold mining development programme in 2019.
The initiative is to foster the formalisation and integration of artisanal gold mining activities into Nigeria’s legal, economic, and institutional framework.
Speaking at the launch, the Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said the development is a step toward the actualisation of economic diversification in Nigeria.
He said Nigeria will no longer be analysed through the price of crude oil as gold is also valued in the international market in dollars.
He said irrespective of the fall in the price of crude oil, with gold, “the Nigerian economy remains strong, remains resilient to withstand the exogenous shocks that we see around today.”
Also at the event was the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, who said many states including Kebbi have people in the artisanal gold mining sector for decades but they have been doing so illegally, with health hazards to themselves and damage to the environment.
In her remarks, Executive Secretary, Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF), Fatima Shinkafi, said the initiative would not only strengthen the national economy and impact on the individuals, but will also encourage private-sector-led investment.