The first ever artisanally mined and processed gold in Nigeria has been sold to the Central Bank of Nigeria for $3.2m. The government said the gold would now be added to the country’s reserve.
The bar of gold weighing 12.5kg was said to have been refined according to LBMA standards.
It was presented at the state house on Thursday at the launch of the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative, a major step in Nigeria’s gold mining reforms.
The PAGMI is an effort to regulate and streamline artisanal mining which has been largely undertaken illegally in the country for many years.
In May, the police arrested 17 Chinese gold miners in Osun State in Nigeria’s southwest as officials said the activities of the miners polluted the Osun River, a water body at the centre of a religious festival, which host visitors from within an outside the country,
Nigeria’s gold reserve has averaged 21.38 tonnes in the last 10 years, reaching an all-time high of 21.50 tonnes in 2019. This is the first time artisanally-mined gold would contribute to that reserve.
President Muhammadu Buhari says hoeps that that his mining reforms, particularly, changes in in the mining regulation would help create up to 250,000 jobs and earn the government $500million a year in royalties and taxes.
Part of the reform is to create a legal artisanal mining system in which gold buying centres would be available while the trade can be taxed.
Illegal mining has been a source of violence in Nigeria’s northwest region, as bandits control some of the mining activities in many locations.
According to the president, Nigeria lost Buhari at least $3 billion between 2012 to 2018 because of illegal gold mining.
Prior to the launch of the PAGMI, the government licensed two gold refineries to produce gold which would shore up the country’s reserve and also create a gold export business.