The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has unveiled Federal Government’s plans to commence a Gold Purchase Scheme early next year as a component of current drives by government to boost non-oil revenue base of the economy.
Under the proposed scheme, the government would equip artisanal miners, provide extension services and ensure off-take of gold produced by participants in the scheme.
Fayemi, who gave this hint during the Ministry’s 2017 End of Year Ministerial Briefing in Abuja on yesterday in Abuja, said the scheme was being carried out in partnership with some state governments and the organized private sector.
To kick off the scheme, he disclosed that Kebbi and Osun states had been chosen for the pilot scheme. This is even as he expressed optimism that implementation of the scheme would also boost employment, reduce poverty and increase revenue to the Federation Account.
Noting that the vast majority of the country’s gold are transacted illegally without any financial accruals to government coffers, Fayemi explained that the gold purchase scheme would attract international buyers of gold and sanitise the illegal operational regime in the solid minerals sector.
He hinted that already, the ministry had set up an investment promotion and Mineral Trade Department even as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPA) would be licensed by government to manage the gold purchase scheme.
In addition, the Minister also said that the Ministry had secured the delivery of 26,000 line kilometre of electromagnetic data, having made the outstanding payment to the consultant that handled it.
To facilitate hitch-free implementation of the scheme, Fayemi said that the ministry would also undertake extensive electromagnetic Airborne Geological Survey of some parts of the country with solid mineral revenue potential in 2018.
He expatiated: “We are also working towards the completion of the equipping of the NGRL, as well as the completion of our National Mineral Database, and will, in collaboration with the China Geological Surveys conduct an extensive geochemical mapping programme across the country.
“The foregoing would avail sufficient data for interpretation and analysis of the to allow for strategic planning and targeting of potential areas for further exploration work, and ground verification of the data from the ‘AGS’.
“We consider this a very important part of our work in 2018, to deliver a comprehensive bankable data of our mineral endowments across the country.
According to him, the ministry is also collaborating with the state governments to ensure the reactivation of State Minerals Resources and Environmental Management Committees (MIREMCOs) as provided for by Section 19 of Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act.
This is just as he confirmed that government had provided mobilization funds for 10 State MIRENCOs, and also procured operational vehicles for the affected states as part of the Federal Government’s efforts to promote cooperative federalism in the mining sector and to also deepen the participatory governance of the mining sector.
Fayemi, who said with more funding and technical supports for miners in the coming years the sector would actualise its agenda of job and wealth creation, also disclosed that the ministry had completed the characterisation of kaolin in Ekiti State.