Commissioning Gold Plant in Kogi, New Dawn for Employment – FG

The Federal Government has expressed optimism that with the commissioning of the Gold Processing Plant in Mopa of Mopa-Muro Local Government Area in Kogi State, there would be a new dawn for employment opportunities and an end to huge capital flights via informal gold trading.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, stated this on Tuesday, noting the project is designed based on the cluster concept which has become a global trend in industrial development to promote shared amenities, agglomeration of similar producers, customers, and others, based on geographical proximity or access to complementary expertise to promote efficiency and increase specialization and production.

He also explained that the plant will create and generate sustainable competitive advantages in the following key areas: “Development of downstream gold mining industries; Increasing the level of competitive inputs (such as services, machinery and equipment);

“…Increasing the level of employment in all business activities related to the gold mining cluster; Increasing the rate and exports of value-added products and services & attracting foreign investments; Generating new start-up companies; Increasing trade performance & generating higher corporate profits;

“… and improving mineral production output and ease of mining sector regulation and administration; Creation of more jobs through emergence of service industries because of increase cluster activities.”

The Minister also appreciated Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, and his team for making commissioning of the project a reality, and also commended international organizations including the World Bank, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, United Nations Development Programme, Global Environment Facility, amongst others. He as well acknowledged support of the Government of Canada, Australia and others on addressing ASM issues in Nigeria.

He said: “The choice of Mopa as a location for the gold processing plant is predicated on its central position on the Schist Belt which trends from the North West through western Kogi State to South West Nigeria.

“The Nigeria Schist Belt is known to host rich deposits of gold. With the location of the gold processing plant in Mopa, artisanal and small-scale gold operators within the Schist Belt states can easily have access to the plant for their gold processing and refining.

“The informal trading of unprocessed gold leads to capital flights and job losses. It is in a bid to develop the downstream sector mining industry to improve product pricing, create jobs, improve revenue generation and attract foreign markets to Nigeria.

Gold plant in Kogi

“You may recall that at the inception of this administration, the President did not mince words in his desire to encourage diversification of the national economic base.

“It is in line with the President’s resolve to anchor his economic diversification agenda on two key sectors of Mining and Agriculture, that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development had designed six strategic Artisanal and Small scale Miners, ASM, Cluster Projects in the six geopolitical zones as a means to harness the potentials of the over 3 million ASM operators in the country. The Gold Processing Plant in Mopa for the North Central Zone is one of these projects.

“These landmark projects are to create an enabling environment to support the Mining Industry through the formalization of the ASM Sub-sector as a major driver of the key growth parameters to engender the development of the mining Sector since over 90% of the mining activities in the country could safely be said to be ASM driven.

“This event has again provided an opportunity to highlight the efforts of the administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to open some of the potentials available in the Mining Sector to serve as alternative revenue sources.

“The concept of the Gold Processing Plant was a crafted policy to spur job creation and capacity development of gold mining operators in Kogi State and environs, through the Economic Growth and Sustainability Plan of the Federal Government.

“This project houses several Federal Government initiatives geared towards formalizing the ASM activities, curbing the exploitation of artisanal and small-scale gold miners as well as development of the capacities of our teaming youths to actively participate in downstream gold value chain.”

Meanwhile, on the heels of commissioning of Gold Processing Plant in Mopa, Kogi State, he (Adegbite) disclosed that under his leadership and his Minister of State, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, prioritized the ASM “to stem incessant illegalities that have fraught the subsector in Nigeria by initiating and supporting biometric data capturing of all registered artisanal and small-scale miners across the country under the formalization and mainstreaming of ASM operators.

“We are presently creating an ecosystem to minimize the high rate of illegal mining and smuggling, increase Government’s revenue from the resource, create jobs, and improve environmental and social stewardship.”

The Permanent Secretary, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, said the conceptualization of the project was a fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead of dishing out cash or other material gifts to the people to cushion the effects of the Pandemic, the Ministry embarked on a more strategic people oriented project that are sustainable and economically viable to trigger capacity development, job and wealth creation for the people.

Akinlade also said the commissioning of the project marks the beginning of the unlocking of prosperity of the land, and of all the States in the North Central Geopolitical zone and by extension, Nigeria.

She also took time to appreciate the Mopa community for heartily embracing the project while urging them to protect the facility.

Meanwhile, the Governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, who was represented by his Senior Special Adviser on Solid Mineral Resources, Eng. Mohammed Yusuf, said the government and people of the State are overwhelmed with joy as the government found them worthy to site such an important project in the State as he promised more synergy between the State and the Federal Government.

In a goodwill message, His Royal Majesty, the Elulu of Mopa, Oba Julius Joledo, whose message was read by Oba of Odole, Oba Bayo James Aje, appreciated the Federal Government for siting the project in their community and promised that the people will protect the facility.

However, he urged the government to provide it with adequate security as he urged the government to consider the youths of Mopa for employment at the plant.

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