Nigeria yet to harness its gold deposits — Fayemi

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Abuja The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, says although Nigeria is blessed with huge gold deposits, it is yet to harness the commodity.

Fayemi, who made this known at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, said the commodity could be found in abundance in some Western and Northern states of the federation.

“We have an entire belt running from Zamfara to kebbi to sokoto, Kaduna, Niger, kwara, kogi, Oyo and Osun.

“The entire western belt of Nigeria is almost a gold belt and it is a green field; but we have not done enough work.’’

He expressed regret that there was no record that “Nigeria is a gold producing country yet people take gold from Nigeria, licence it in Ghana and pass it off as gold from Ghana’’.

Fayemi said the ministry was working closely with the Federal Ministry of Interior to prevent people from engaging in illegal mining of the commodity.

He said illegal mining activities would not only depreciate the value of the commodity, it would also confuse the investors and undermine the potentiality of the sector.

The minister said since oil was discovered in the country, gold mining was ignored, thus giving illegal miners the latitude to engage in their activity.

He said the ministry would establish a mineral buying centre to eliminate middlemen.

“We want to clean up the market and ensure that it becomes an attractive sector for those who are playing in it.

“It is to have a sector that is very well regulated, you can’t do this in places like Ghana.

“So we must organise the sector in a better faction.’’

Fayemi said government would take calculated steps to organise the mining sector. (NAN)