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The good news came in on Thursday when a Nigerian firm, Kian Smith Trade & Co Limited, broke ground on the nation’s first gold refinery, saying the project would be completed by the end of the first half of next year.

The firm said the refinery would start with a production capacity of three tonnes per month of 99.99 per cent gold and one ton per month production of 99.99 per cent silver.

Abubakar Bwari, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, who was quoted in a statement as saying at the ground-breaking ceremony, stated, “The present administration is determined to develop the mining sector to act as a catalyst for sustainable economic growth of the country.

“Part of our marching orders in the mines and steal development ministry is that we are expected to develop the sector to increase its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, improve its capacity to create jobs and engender sustainable mining.”

The minister noted that it was in keeping with his ministry’s mandate that a roadmap was developed for the growth and development of the mining sector.

“During the focus labs of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of this administration, we discovered that a well-organised gold value chain can trigger an economic revolution as it did in India, South Africa, Switzerland and others,” Bwari said.

Bwari added that the ministry had continued to work in this light to develop a gold value chain for the country.

“We will be supplying the Central Bank of Nigeria, the jewellery and the electronics industry.”

The Vice Chairman, Kian Smith, Nere Teriba, confirmed that they have already secured a significant monthly supply of gold from Zamfara, Kebbi, Kwara, Niger, Kaduna, Ibadan, Ile-Ife, and Ilesha and about 100kg per month from other parts of Africa,”

She said the firm was finalising supply agreements and terms from suppliers in Kano, adding, “Next week, we will be securing supply from Kogi State.”

According to Teriba, the refinery, when completed, will provide more than 500,000 jobs in two years as it continues to support its suppliers in their bid to become registered business entities in the mining sector.

“There are at present at least one million unregistered business participants in the Nigerian market (considering gold miners, sponsors, dealers, processors, aggregators and gold-workers).

She added that the formalisation, organisation and development they bring to the value chain will provide quick wins to the Nigerian economy,”

Also present is the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosu, who was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Adepeju Adebajo, expressed enthusiasm about the refinery project, saying it was in line with his government’s industrialisation plan, and he described the project as a major boost to the Nigerian mining sector.

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