Gold Jewellery Photo: Alamy

Government to train Nigerians in art of making gold jewellery ─Minister

*Initiative is to train the trainers on turning gold into jewellery, says Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, Minister for Mines and Steel Development

*Private sector investors, government would increase country’s foreign reserve ─PAGMI Executive Secretary

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In its renewed attempt to diversify the nation’s economy and empower the citizenry to add value and create wealth in the gold value chain, the Federal Government of Nigeria is making plans with foreign experts to train some Nigerians in the art of gold jewellery masking

Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, disclosed this to newsmen at the recently launched Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) in Abuja, FCT.

PAGMI is a comprehensive artisanal and small-scale gold mining development programme of the Federal Government.

The initiative is designed to foster the “formalisation and integration of artisanal gold mining activities into the country’s legal, economic, and institutional framework,” says agency report.

According to Arc. Adegbite, the PAGMI concept is designed to integrate social, environmental health and safety, economic, commercial, and technical considerations in the country.

The Minister said: “We are making efforts as a ministry through the MinDiver project; experts would be coming into the country shortly once the ban on international air travel is lifted.

“We are selecting about 40 persons to be trained in jewellery making, we are bringing in international experts and we would be picking one person per state, including the Federal Character Territory (FCT).

“Essentially, they are going to be training the trainers who will also train others across the federation. Apart from the gold itself, we are also looking at turning gold into jewellery.”

The essence is to add value to the country’s gold, create employment and boost the economy in line with Federal Government’s economy diversification programme, he noted.

The Minister urged interested investors to invest in the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative, saying, that PAGMI is open to potential investors.

Adegbite said: “While the government’s proof of consent goes on, we encourage individuals, especially Nigerians who are interested in mining to put their monies into the initiative.”

He also expressed optimism that because government is a continuum, the initiative would outlive the present administration.

The underlining principle of every government project should be the impact it has on the people and the benefits so derived, stated he.

Hajiya Fatima Shinkafi, Executive Secretary of PAGMI, on the occasion said the initiative was aimed at formalising the value chain from the artisanal miners’ perspective.

The Executive Secretary said the initiative would ensure value addition to both the private sector investors and government as well as increase the country’s foreign reserve.

According to Hajiya Shinkafi stated that Osun and Kebbi States have been approved as pilot states for the initiative while biometric exercise has been carried out in the two states.

Likewise, about 50 gold buying centres have been established across the country at the moment, while efforts are underway to equip the centres, she said.

On the objective of setting up the buying centres, she disclosed they would serve as aggregators and would be accredited by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in partnership with PAGMI, keeping to international best practices guidelines for responsibly-sort gold.

Shinkafi stated: “We want them to be profit driven, we want to bring the artisans from the dark into the light so that they don’t operate under the radar and are cheated by middle men.”

The first time ever artisanal-mined gold was processed and refined, according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) standards in Nigeria was in June 2020, report said.

The standards are required for the use of gold as a reserve instrument by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN, through the PAGMI initiative, will be purchasing gold that has been mined, processed and refined from miners as part of the country’s external reserves rather than allowing them sell same through meddle men.

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