The Federal Government has concluded plans to commence a Gold Purchase Scheme next year to increase revenue accruable from the abundant gold deposit in the country.
The arrangement would also boost the equipping of artisanal miners and make provisions for extension services and off-take of all gold produced by participants in the scheme.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who disclosed this at ministry’s end of year briefing in Abuja, said the scheme was being carried out in partnership with state governments and the private sector.
He explained that Kebbi and Osun states have been chosen as pilot states, adding that the scheme would facilitate employment, reduce poverty and increase revenue to the federation account.
Fayemi also decried the situation where vast majority of the country’s gold are transacted underground without any record of financial accrual to the government, which would defeat the purpose of the scheme, adding: “The gold purchase scheme would attract international buyers of gold. Already, we have set up an investment promotion and mineral trade department.
“A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPA) would be licensed to manage the gold purchase scheme.”
He stated that government had secured the delivery of 26,000-line kilometre of electromagnetic data, having made the outstanding payment to the consultant that would handle it, while the ministry would also undertake extensive electromagnetic airborne geological survey of promising parts of the country next year.
“We are also working towards the completion of the equipping of the NGRL, as well as the completion of our National Mineral Database, and will, in collaboration with the China Geological Surveys, conduct an extensive geochemical mapping programme across the country.
“The foregoing would avail sufficient data for interpretation and analysis of the to allow for strategic planning and targeting of potential areas for further exploration work, and ground verification of the data from the ‘AGS.’
“We consider this a very important part of our work in 2018, to deliver a comprehensive bankable data of our mineral endowments across the country,” Fayemi added.
He disclosed that the ministry has completed the characterisation of kaolin in Ekiti State, involving carrying out mineral and chemical analysis to determine the composition of the kaolin, as well as the quality.