By Francisca Oluyole
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, has called on mining investors to replicate the construction of Gold Smelting Plant in Mopa, Moro Local Government Area in Kogi.
Adegbite, made this known in a statement issued by the Director, Press and Public Relations of the ministry, Mrs Etore Thomas, on Friday in Abuja.
The minister who visited the gold smelting plant urged investors to borrow a leaf from what the Federal Government had done in Mopa and build gold processing plant in other gold bearing communities.
He said that the gold plant was a pilot project located in Kogi due to gold deposits in the vicinity and meant to provide services to catchment areas within its location.
“This processing plant project is sited in Mopa, Moro Local Government Area of Kogi because we found gold in this neighborhood,” he said.
The minister advised the Artisanal and Small Scale Miners (ASM) in the area to take advantage of the plant by taking their gold to the facility for proper processing.
He also encouraged investors to take advantage of the opportunities available in other states with gold deposits and build smelting plant which would be of great benefit to them, the host communities and Nigeria at large.
“The Gold Smelting plant in Mopa is government’s demonstration of safer method of gold smelting that is environmentally friendly as it complies with global standard,” he said.
He advised that water used for processing gold should be channeled properly to avoid polluting the water body of the environment.
The minister assured Nigerians that gold mined in the country would be processed locally.
“We want to process locally, we want to create industries around our minerals and avoid the mistake Nigeria made in crude oil where we export raw crude and import refined product.
“We want to utilise our own gold locally for the benefit of Nigeria so that we do not export jobs and at the end of the day, the value stays here, the job stays here and the money stays here,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, said the Post-COVID six regional projects established in the geopolitical zones would stimulate activities in the sector.
Akinlade said it would also create wealth for Nigerians and at the same time generate revenue for the government, adding that the Mopa processing plant would be of great benefits to Nigeria at large. (NAN)