FG Commissions Gold Processing Plant in Kogi, Plans to Curb Illegal Mining

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The Federal Government has commissioned its gold processing plant in Mopa, Kogi state.

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, in his keynote address, said with the location of the processing plant in Mopa, artisanal and small-scale (ASM) gold operators within the Schist Belt states can easily have access to the plant for their gold processing and refining.

He explained that 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 northwest through western Kogi state to southwest Nigeria.

The Nigeria Schist Belt is known to host rich deposits of gold.

He added that the plant would end the exportation of unprocessed gold, lamenting that the informal trading of unprocessed gold has led to capital flights and increased the poverty rate in the country.

Adegbite said the federal government has initiated biometric data capturing for all registered artisanal and small-scale miners across the country under the formalisation and mainstreaming of ASM operators to curb incessant illegalities that have fraught the subsector in Nigeria.

He also explained that the informal trading of unprocessed gold leads to capital flights and job losses.

The Minister said government is 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 Minister 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.

In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade said the conceptualisation 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 is sustainable and economically viable to trigger capacity development, job and wealth creation for the people.

Dr Akinlade stated that Mopa is a town of hope, a land of promise and that the commissioning of the project marks the beginning of the unlocking of the 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.

Also in his address, 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 his 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. While promising that the people will protect the facility, he urged the government to provide it with adequate security as he urged the government to consider the youths of Mopa for employment in the plant.

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