Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, july 16th received the country’s first artisanally-mined gold, produced according to international standards, to mark the launch of its Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI).
PAGMI is a comprehensive artisanal and small-scale gold mining development programme, launched in 2019 to foster the formalization and integration of artisanal gold mining activities into Nigeria’s legal, economic, and institutional framework.
The President during the launch of the initiative said the improved gold mining operations in the country will generate no fewer than 250,000 jobs and over $500m annually in royalties and taxes to the Federal Government.
Reiterating the determination of the federal government to combat illegal mining activities, the president expressed concern that Nigeria lost close to $3 billion due to illegal smuggling of gold.
“With the implementation of the PAGMI scheme which will result in the set-up of accredited gold buying centres across key mining areas, artisanal miners and SMEs engaged in mining will be able to capture the value of their work.
“These operations will help in diversifying our revenue base. The sale of gold by artisanal miners and SMEs at accredited centers will help the government in realizing royalties and taxes from the sale of these assets.
“These developments will also help in improving our foreign reserves by enabling the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase the amount of gold in its reserves.
“These gold assets which will be purchased in Naira, will not only help to bolster our international reserves, it will also provide a hedge against inflation and other economic volatilities associated with foreign currencies that are held in our reserves,’’ the president said.
The Nigeria government said the 12.5kg gold bar – bought by its apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the rate of N268 million meets the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) standard, which means anyone in the world can buy it with confidence.
The Kebbi State governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, also said the initiative would eliminate illegality and criminality in the Solid Minerals sector and will positively impact the security situation in most parts of the country.
For those who find the term artisanal gold mining strange; An artisanal miner or small-scale miner (ASM) is a subsistence miner who is not officially employed by a mining company, but works independently, mining minerals using their own resources, usually by hand.
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