In a bid to diversify and grow the Nigerian economy, provide jobs for the youth and boost the gross domestic product (GDP), the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has officially inaugurated the International Gold Souk Trading Centre in Kano. The establishment of this world-class facility aims to harness the benefits of Nigeria’s abundant gold resources.
Representing the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite and the permanent secretary, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade unveiled the gold souk in Kano on Thursday, May 24, 2023. The establishment of the gold souk is part of the government’s plan to create clusters in each geopolitical zone of the country, based on the mineral prospects in those regions. This initiative aims to strengthen the downstream value chain of specific solid minerals.
Adegbite explained that Kano was chosen as the location for the project due to its historical significance as a hub for the trans-Saharan gold trade route. Recognising that a significant percentage of gold trade goes unaccounted for, the minister emphasised the need to address this challenge and prevent revenue loss. The establishment of the gold souk will provide the necessary infrastructure to formalize the gold trade, ensuring greater benefits for the people and the nation.
The minister highlighted that the gold souk is designed with state-of-the-art facilities to provide users with high-quality services and enhance the global best practices experience. The project aims to facilitate seamless and legitimate gold trading transactions, attracting reputable international players and ancillary businesses that will boost the nation’s economy, create jobs, and bring prosperity to Nigeria. The minister called upon miners, refiners, marketers, relevant state government authorities, the Nigerian Customs Service, security services, facility managers and the community to collaborate with the Ministry to ensure the sustainability of the facility.
During her remarks, Akinlade emphasised that the establishment of the Kano Gold International Trading Centre would put an end to years of informal mining and trading of unprocessed gold by artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operators. This move will unlock the enormous potential of the gold mining subsector and stimulate additional economic activities. The gold souk is expected to create more jobs along the gold mining value chain in the northwest zone, boost revenue generation for operators and the government, and attract global investors and businesses to Kano and its surroundings.
Akinlade outlined the comprehensive facilities available at the gold souk, including gold processing equipment, administrative blocks, training sections, offices, stable power supply and ICT facilities. The souk will also improve data gathering, curb smuggling and promote the formalisation of ASM to eliminate illegal activities in the sector. The permanent secretary expressed her delight at the commissioning of the project and assured the public of the government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for further investments in the utilization of the country’s abundant mineral resources.
The senior special adviser to the executive governor on solid minerals, Suleiman Ahmed, representing the Kano State governor, commended the project, stating that it would alleviate poverty not only in Kano but also in the northeast. He acknowledged the ministry’s decision to locate the project in Kano and emphasised that it would create jobs for youth and reduce crime.
The representative of the mineral and gold processors, Mujtaba Maharaz expressed gratitude to the ministry for bringing this significant project to Kano. He urged miners and marketers to take advantage of the Gold International Trading Centre to improve the economy.
In conclusion, the director of artisanal and small-scale mining, Yunusa Mohammed delivered a vote of thanks, acknowledging the tireless efforts of the minister, the minister of state and the permanent secretary in ensuring the completion and commissioning of the cluster projects in the six geopolitical zones. The establishment of these projects aims to promote the formalisation of ASM in Nigeria, fostering economic growth and development.
According to a statement from the ministry’s head of press and public relations department, Tine-Iulun M.A. Mohammed, the objective behind these projects is to promote the formalisation of ASM in Nigeria and drive economic growth and development.