The Federal Government has called on investors and would-be investors to replicate the construction of the gold-smelting plant in Mopa, Mopa Moro local government area of Kogi State.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, gave this charge during an inspection tour of the gold-smelting plant in Mopa Moro.
He said the location of the plant followed the discovery of gold deposits in the vicinity and is meant to provide services to areas around the location.
“This processing plant project here in Mopa Moro local government area of Kogi State is for the north-central because we found gold in this location,” he stressed.
The minister advised the Artisanal and Small Scale Miners (ASM) in the area to take advantage of the gold smelting 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 plants which he said would be beneficial to them, the host communities and the nation.
Adegbite charged investors to borrow a leaf from what the Federal Government has done in Mopa and build processing plants in other gold-bearing communities, adding that the processing plant in the clusters spread across the country are demonstration plants that investors could replicate.
He said the gold-smelting plant in Mopa is also the government’s demonstration of safer methods of gold-smelting that is environmentally friendly and complies with global standards.
The minister advised against the direct release of water used for processing into the water body in the neighbourhood by illegal miners.
“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,” he emphasised.
Adegbite assured Nigerians that gold mined in the country would be processed in Nigeria. “Our gold will be processed here. We want to utilise our gold locally for the benefit of Nigeria, so that we do not export jobs. At the end of the day, the value, jobs and money stay here.”
Earlier in his remarks, the permanent secretary, MMSD, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade noted that the six post-COVID regional projects established in the geopolitical zones will stimulate activities in the sector, create wealth for Nigerians and generate revenue for the government.
A statement by the ministry’s director of press signed by Idowu Jokpeyibo, said Akinlade opined that siting the processing plant in Mopa would come with a lot of opportunities for the north-central region and Nigeria.