President Buhari said this when he met with small-scale miners who presented the presidency with a 12.5kg gold bar worth $691,000 as special thanks for initiatives to help local miners.
In the seven years under review, Nigeria’s illegal miners have been known to collaborate with those who smuggle the precious mineral to other countries. A 2019 investigation by Reuters concluded that much of the gold smuggled out of Africa ends up in the “United Arab Emirates in the Middle East – a gateway to markets in Europe, the United States and beyond.”
But speaking on his government’s initiatives, President Buhari said the plan to support small-scale miners to legally mine and refine gold under government supervision has created about 250,000 jobs.
He added that Nigeria stood to gain some $500 million in royalties and taxes on gold, a mineral not as rewarding as Nigeria’s chief export, oil.
A statement from the seat of government explained further potential for small-scale miners in Nigeria.
“This [the initiative] means that the Central Bank will be purchasing gold that has been mined, processed and refined under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative for use as part of Nigeria’s external reserves,” the statement read.