History was made in Nigeria on Thursday, as the country celebrated the ground breaking of its first gold refinery by the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari. The refinery being developed by indigenous minerals company Kian Smith Trade & Co Ltd. (“Kian Smith”) in Ogun State is scheduled to start production in 2019, sourcing most of its ore from miners in the country.
“The present administration is determined to develop the mining sector to act as a catalyst for sustainable economic growth of the country,” said Hon. Bwari at the groundbreaking ceremony. “Part of our marching orders in the Mines and Steel Development ministry is that we are expected to develop the sector to increase its contribution to the nation’s GDP, improve its capacity to create jobs and engender sustainable mining,” the minister added, stressing that it was in keeping with his ministry’s mandate that a roadmap was developed for the growth and development of the mining sector.
“During the focus labs of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of this administration, we discovered that a well organised gold value chain can trigger an economic revolution like it did in India, South Africa, Switzerland and others,” he said further. He noted that the ministry has continued to work in this light to develop a gold value chain for the country. The refinery will start with a production capacity of 3 tonnes per month of 99.99% gold and 1 ton per month production of 99.99% silver.
“We will be supplying the Central Bank, the Jewellery and the Electronic Industry,” said Nere Teriba, Vice Chairman of Kian Smith at the groundbreaking ceremony. “We have already secured a significant monthly supply of gold from Zamfara, Kebbi, Kwara, Niger, Kaduna, Ibadan, Ile-Ife, Ilesha and about 100kg per month from other parts of Africa. We are presently finalizing supply agreements and terms from suppliers in Kano.
Next week, we will be securing supply from Kogi State,” she added. According to Teriba, the refinery when completed will provide more than 500,000 jobs in two years as it continues to support its suppliers in their bid to become registered business entities in the mining sector. “There’s at presently at least 1,000,000 unregistered business participants in the Nigerian market (considering gold miners, sponsors, dealers, processors, aggregators and gold-workers).
The formalization, organization and development we bring to the value chain will provide quick wins to the Nigerian economy,” Teriba said. Also speaking, the Governor of Ogun State Sen. Ibikunle Amosu, who was represented by the Commisoner for Agriculture Adepeju Adebajo expressed enthusiasm about the refinery project which she said was in line with the state government’s industrialization plan.
According to her, the project is a major boost to the Nigerian mining sector. “Apart from the fact that the strengthening of our mining industry will reduce importation of refined products, it will go a long way in affirming our country’s status as a world mining power.” The vice chairman of Kian Smith Nere Teriba said the refinery will be ready to start production by the end of the first half of 2019.