The establishment of the Kano gold souk is set to attract international attention to Nigeria’s vast gold potential and serve as a platform to showcase the country’s jewellery market.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade made this known during a one-day stakeholders’ engagement workshop on the establishment of a downstream international gold souk held in Kano.
Akinlade emphasised that the purpose of the workshop was to equip participants with comprehensive knowledge of the project’s concept and vision. This knowledge would ensure optimal utilization of the gold souk for the benefit of Nigeria and its citizens. She further explained that the establishment of the gold souk would be mutually beneficial for both stakeholders and the government. It would bring indigenous gold production into the spotlight and increase revenue generation.
In his welcome address, Yunusa Mohammed, the director of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), highlighted the importance of the sector in providing employment and livelihoods worldwide. Globally, over 40 million individuals are engaged in ASM, accounting for more than one-fifth of the world’s gold, tin, tantalum, and gemstone supplies. In Nigeria, a significant portion of mineral production comes from artisanal and small-scale miners, offering livelihood opportunities to approximately 2 million Nigerians.
However, Mohammed pointed out that the ASM sector in Nigeria is largely informal, with miners employing inappropriate and crude methods, as well as rudimentary tools, to exploit mineral deposits. This lack of regulation leads to illegal mining, mineral smuggling, social conflicts in host communities, and environmental degradation. To address these challenges, the ministry has implemented the artisanal and small-scale mining cluster development project under the Economic Sustainability Plan of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The international gold souk was established in Batakaye village, Kumbotso local government area of Kano State as part of this initiative. The stakeholders’ engagement workshop aims to tackle the obstacles hindering the ASM sector’s development and facilitate a smooth transition from informal and illegal mining to formalised, organised and sustainable ventures.
The chairman of the Miners Association of Nigeria, Kano State, Mallam Yahaya Kulu commended the Federal Government and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) for choosing Kano as the location for the gold souk. He emphasised that this decision demonstrated the law-abiding nature of miners in Kano and their commitment to responsible mining practices. The Miners Association of Nigeria pledged unwavering support to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Gold Souk.
The establishment of the Kano gold souk is expected to bring international attention to Nigeria’s gold industry, showcasing its potential and promoting responsible mining practices. With comprehensive knowledge gained from the workshop, stakeholders will be better equipped to play their roles in the success of the project. As Nigeria aims to optimise its mineral resources, the Gold Souk serves as a significant step toward realising the country’s mining potential and driving economic growth in the sector.