The Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank), Mr. Abba Bello, has hinted of ongoing arrangements by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to commence off-taking Nigeria’s gold at international competitive price.
The banker, who made this disclosure while speaking on what NEXIM Bank is doing to promote mining during a Mining Master Class of the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit 2019, held in Abuja said that the export-import bank had initiatied some measures that would make the international investors in gold explore the Nigerian sector for good returns on their investments.
Bello explained: “Now off-take becomes very important. Nigerian gold as of today has no destination that we know of. It gets there to the international market somehow, but we don’t know where it goes to. It is in Dubai, India and everywhere around the world, but nobody has a record of it.
“In order to encourage formal trade of gold the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has committed that part of reserve management will be in Nigerian Gold, and how would it work? If Dukia Gold gets off the ground whatever they produce the CBN will up-take.
“Whatever any exploration or processor of gold in Nigeria the CBN will up-take it at international prices and it forms part of Nigeria’s export of solid minerals, and all it may take for the processing and trade of gold in Nigeria.
“For equipment supplier or outright purchase of equipment, we have gone into discussions with Blue care and now Mantra for the supply of heavy equipment for gold processing or exploration on lease basis and it is something that does not exist currently within the industry.
“Barrick Gold and Bullion Mart they know is something that happens in the mining world. You don’t have to own the equipment but there are vendors who supply the equipment for explorers to hire. Discussions have gone very far with the equipment suppliers and very soon we will announce the programme”, the banker added.
According to him, the bank will also encourage the beneficiation of gold even from the SME level for value addition and more profit as well as, through an innovative programme, establish first level gold processing centres in the country.
He said: “We want to also encourage beneficiation right from the SME level. We have also in another programme that is related to Dukia Gold we are also trying to put processing centres at least for the first level of processing before it gets to refining in clusters.
“So when you explore gold we will put some processing equipment in those clusters where you can go and process it. Gold comes in large tonnages of rock. We want to make it easier for you by pre-processing it before the supply of the raw Gold for further processing”, Bello added.
Noting that funding remained one of the major challenges undermining Nigeria’s gold mining potential, the NEXIM Bank chief advised, however, that operators should not just be concerned with only accessing finance but on what assets would help to boost their operations and profitability.
The banker clarified: “You know in mining the amount of capital that is needed is enormous. Technology is key because you won’t be able to achieve 99.99 per cent purity from where we are today. So we need technical support.
“So financing is basic for us. You can come we will give you finance, but we want that finance to produce adequate returns for you from the artisanal level. We want all the benefits on what you are doing to get to you and we can do it through the value system.
“I want to encourage women that you should be part of the exploration of gold or the processing of gold, and we are there to support you”, he added.