History was made in Nigeria on Thursday, 13 December, 2018, as the country celebrated the groundbreaking of its first gold refinery by Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari. The refinery being developed by indigenous minerals company Kian Smith Trade & Co Ltd. (Kian Smith) in Ogun State, close to Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, is scheduled to start production in 2019, sourcing most of its ore from miners in the country.
The refinery, which will prioritise sustainability, will start with a production capacity of 3 tonnes per month of 99.99% gold and production of 1 tonne of 99.99% silver per month.
“We saw the establishment of a gold refinery and the role of the Central Bank of Nigeria as a key stakeholder in the gold market and as pivotal catalysts to creating a gold economy for West Africa with Nigeria as the centre. Nigeria will become the Dubai of the region,” said Nere Teriba Vice Chairman of Kian Smith at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“We will be supplying the Central Bank, the Jewellery and the Electronic Industry,” she addedm disclosing that most of the ores for production will be sourced locally. She said Kian Smith has already secured a significant monthly supply of gold from Zamfara, Kebbi, Kwara, Niger, Kaduna, Oyo and Osun, all states in Nigeria, with other states to come. The company also plans to source about 100kg per month from other parts of Africa.
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’s at presently at least 1,000,000 unregistered business participants in the Nigerian market (considering gold miners, sponsors, dealers, processors, aggregators and gold-workers). The formalization, organization and development we bring to the value chain will provide quick wins to the Nigerian economy,” Teriba said.
All over Africa, artisanal and small scale miners make up the bulk of mining output. Most of these miners are not licensed by the government, making it difficult for the government to track production volumes, claim royalties, and protect the miners themselves, from unwholesome practices dangerous to their health. Nere Teriba wants to fix this in Nigeria and when she succeeds, she plans to help build the mining industry in other parts of West Africa.
Nigeria’s mining minister who led the groundbreaking ceremony was excited at the new project, through which he says his name, Kian Smith’s and Nere’s names would be written in gold in the history of mining in Nigeria.
“During the focus labs of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of this administration, we discovered that a well organised gold value chain can trigger an economic revolution like it did in India, South Africa, Switzerland and others,” he said, noting that the Mines and Steel Development ministry has continued to work in this light to develop a gold value chain for the country.
The Governor of Ogun State Sen. Ibikunle Amosu, whose state hosts several industries in Nigeria, was represented by the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture Adepeju Adebajo. The commissioner expressed enthusiasm about the refinery project which she said was in line with the state government’s industrialization plan.
The vice chairman of Kian Smith Nere Teriba said the refinery will be ready to start production by the end of the first half of 2019.