Prior to the suspension of mining reserves in Zamfara due to the concerns of alleged illegal miners connected to an increase in banditry in 2019 by the Federal Government. Zamfara state government has gone through due process to establish a gold reserve. It has so far acquired equipment for gold mining beginning with 31 kilograms of processed gold.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also concluded plans to release the sum of N5billion to Zamfara State for the purchase of gold. It is estimated that gold mining in the state alone could fetch up to $2 billion per year when properly organized.
Governor Bello Matawalle, while speaking at the government house in Gusau on Tuesday said the gold was wholly mined and refined by artisanal miners in the state. He also stated: ‘This strategic decision is part of the efforts to prop up the economy of the state and guarantee the economic and social wellbeing of our people now and in the future.’
The governor said, ‘My administration will subsequently continue to buy gold from our local miners so as to gradually improve the reserve.’
According to Matawalle, ‘the gold reserve was the first of its time and the precious metal would be deposited in a bank’.
Matawalle said, ‘Even though our state, like other states of the federation, is grappling with competing demands from the public and the resources at our disposal are meager, we feel it is of utmost significance to invest in the future of our people. One of the lessons we have learnt from the global COVID-19 pandemic is the lack of resilience of the oil market in the wake of a crisis that affects industrial production.’
He added, ‘The recent collapse of the oil market has further shown the need to diversify our economy as a safeguard from the uncertainties of the market. The establishment of the gold reserve, therefore, is part of the relentless efforts by my administration to diversify the state’s economy by exploring all potentials of the state and maximally utilizing them for the benefit of both the present and future generations.’
A state of the art gold refinery equipment has been mounted in Baka Lori Dam, with more refining facilities to be introduced before the end of 2020, on the backdrop of the launched Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI).
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