The Federal Government of Nigeria has commended Heritage Bank for being part of a valuable private sector collaboration with Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Co. Ltd and other stakeholders, saying such partnerships stands to create new opportunities for Nigeria to grow its potential reserves of 200 million ounces of gold.
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this during a Zoom ‘Meet & Chat” session, of the virtual platform at the launch of the nationwideDukia-Heritage Bank Gold & Precious Metals Buying Centre, supported by the High Commissions of Nigeria and Canada, held last week.
Prof. Osinbajo remarked that the launch of this project between Heritage Bank and ‘Dukia Gold SPV’ would enable Nigeria to mine reserves properly, trade responsibly, refine locally and boost the nation’s foreign reserves.
“The Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refinery Project, championed by the High Commissions of Nigeria and Canada, has been seven years in the making and it is my pleasure to see that the project is ready to begin operations. What we are looking at here is an extremely valuable new source of trade, jobs and foreign exchange.
This project will create primary employment for local artisanal miners and mining cooperatives, and across the solid minerals value chain. Off-take agreements between Dukia Gold and local mining communities and owners of recyclable gold will be a useful provider of jobs in our post-covid economy.
The positive multiplier is expected to extend even further than this as the Dukia Gold project will also encourage the emergence of smaller-scale mining companies who, for the first time, will now have a transparent and welcoming market for their mined gold and precious metals. This is set to create jobs and unleash the economic potential of mining communities.”
Osinbajo further counted the enormous benefits of the project, stating that “this provides a sustainable way for Nigerians to exchange their gold jewelry and other precious items for cash. This system of exchange not only helps encourage a culture of recycling, but will also serve as a complementary source for the raw materials needed for the Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Company. These buying centers will also enable the responsible management of some of electronic waste.”
According to the promoters, the project would further drive the diversification of the nation’s economy through the new gold and precious metals market that will grow the mining industry’s contribution to gross domestic products to over 10% by 2026.
Records have shown that the growth of mining production at the end of 2019 in Nigeria was 0.1% and the sector still contributes less than 0.5% of GDP compared to other African economies who are strong in mining like Botswana (38%), Democratic Republic of Congo (25%), South Africa (18%), Zambia (18%), Guinea (12%) and Ghana (7%).
In his remarks, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo stated that this partnership would boost the mining industry’s productive capacity and open up a new market, through the virtual platform.
According to Sekibo, the operationalization of this initiative aligns with the overall Economic Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria especially as it relates to the full stream diversification of the Nigerian economy, job and wealth creation, development of the solid mineral space amongst others.
Sekibo affirmed, “It is our believe that as the economy of Nigeria is being recalibrated, given the impact of the global pandemic, the government’s committed aspiration to build a robust and resilient economy will be further enhanced through the operationalization of this initiative working with all stakeholders across States and Government Parastatals, the Central Bank, Private Sector and other international actors towards the development of the solid minerals sector and its appendages.”
He explained that this would enhance a regulated market that would see precious metals and other commodities take center stage in endeavor to ensuring irreversible economic growth and development in alliance with a modernized Exchange for commodities trading in Nigeria.