The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, says it has finalised guidelines on solid mineral export to ensure that unprocessed solid minerals are not taken out of Nigeria.
Alhaji Abubakar Bwari, the minister of state, said this during the official commissioning of AMRAN Faceting Incubation Centre on Friday, in Abuja.
Bwari said that relevant stakeholders, such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) among others, put the guidelines together to ensure that unprocessed minerals was not taken out of the country legally or illegal, and sold at a cheap rate.
“Nigeria is endowed with gold and gemstones located in several states but are presently being exploited by Artisanal and Small Scale miners (ASM). These minerals are mostly smuggled out of the country in an unrefined and unprocessed form, leading to massive loss of revenue for the government and producers,’’ he said.
He appreciated AMRAN’s effort for establishing a faceting incubation centre where gemstones were being cut and processed instead of being taken out of the country in their raw state.
According to him, adding value to minerals before they are exported will go a long way in contributing to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He also commended AMRAN for its proposed plan to establish a gold buying centre, gold refinery and jewelry centre in Nigeria to further reinforce the massive potential that could create wealth and job opportunities for the youth.
The minister of state urged the company to operate in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 and its pursuant Regulations, 2011. He also advised the company to ensure transparent and competitive pricing mechanism that would facilitate patronage by gemstone producers and dealers.
Earlier, Alhaji Lamba Zannah, the Chairman, AMRAN Mining Company, said the major problem facing the sub-sector is the exporting of a significant proportion of unprocessed minerals. According to Zannah, most of these minerals are exported to Hong Kong, Thailand, Germany, China and the United States. And jobs associated with value addiction of those products exported would create wealth and other benefits to those countries.
“This must not be allowed to continue, otherwise our country that is blessed with abundant mineral resources will be left with nothing.’’
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