The minister of Mines and Steel Development Arc Olamilekan Adegbite has commissioned the Gold Processing Plant in Mopa, Mopa- Muro Local Government Area of Kogi State.
The Minister pointed out that the informal trading of unprocessed gold has led to capital flights and the siting of the Gold Processing Plant in Mopa is part of federal government’s resolve to develop the downstream Mining Sector to ensure improvement in product pricing, job creation, improved revenue generation and also to attract foreign markets to Nigeria.
In a statement by Funmi Imuetinyan, head press Department in the ministry, the minister said 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.
He further explained that the Nigeria Schist Belt is known to host rich deposits of gold and the location of the gold processing plant in Mopa will ensure that Artisanal and Small-cale gold operators within the Schist Belt States can easily have access to the plant for their gold processing and refining activities respectively.
Giving a description of the project, the minister noted that the project is designed based on the cluster concept which has become a global trend in industrial development to promote shared amenities, agglomeration of similar producers, customers etc. based on geographical proximity or access to complementary expertise to promote efficiency and increase specialization and production.
He said he facility houses state-of-the-art gold processing machineries and equipment, over 30 stalls, administrative block, training section, MMSD office, stable power supply, etc.
In her remarks, the permanent secretary, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade said the conceptualization 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 are 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, that the commissioning of the project marks the beginning of the unlocking of 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 Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji 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.
In his Vote of thanks, the Director, Artisanal and Small-scale Mining of the Ministry, Mr. Yunusa Mohammed, thanked the Honourable Minister, Permanent Secretary, Traditional Rulers and people of Mopa for gracing the occasion, he urged the people to protect the facility.
He added that the ASM is key to the implication of the clusters.
The gold Processing Plant was officially commissioned and Mining Equipment were presented to Mining Cooperatives on Tuesday.