Nigeria is noted for its minerals including gold, iron ore, coal, tin and zinc, but it has not been able to turn gold mining into a major industry for many years.
However, one woman Nere Teriba has changed that narrative and made history by becoming the first and youngest Nigerian to refine gold locally.
Nigerian Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development Abubakar Bawa Bwari initiated the construction of the first gold refinery with the help of indigenous minerals company Kian Smith Trade & Co Ltd in Ogun State.
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Teriba is the vice chairperson of Kian Smith. The company started the construction of the gold refinery in the South Western Ogun State in December 2018 and completed by the end of the first half of 2019.
The gold refinery is actually in operation now with gold supply for the outfit coming mainly from the Zamfara, Kebbi and Kwara states and also other parts of Africa.
“Kian Smith has a memorandum of understanding with a supplier to bring gold from Ghana, Sierra Leone and Tanzania,” Teriba said.
The refinery will initially be able to produce 3 metric tons of gold each month, and 1 ton of silver, supplying Nigeria’s Central Bank, as well as the jewelry and electronic industries, Kian Smith said in a statement.
Teriba, 37, is an entrepreneur, mediator and a strategist. She holds a BSE and MSE from Carnegie-Mellon University in Electrical and Computer Engineering and has worked for sustainable community solutions in several countries.
Teriba has broken into one of the most difficult industries in Nigeria to become the owner of the country’s first gold refinery. She started with trading in minerals, specifically lead, and has continued to move up in the $2 trillion mining value chain.
She said she learnt doggedness from her father, the former Olu of Warri but her business achievements are so massive they couldn’t have been due to her background. She noted they are supernatural. Nonetheless, her achievements, according to her, are not without challenges, adding there is no cloud without a silver lining.
Through her company Kian Smith Trade & Co., Teriba wants to develop Africa’s mining industry, starting from Nigeria and West Africa. She is bent on solving Nigeria’s challenges of not getting royalties from artisanal and small scale miners (ASMs), who according to her produce most of the minerals in circulation in the West African country.
Additionally, Teriba is aiding miners
“One of the major reasons several small-scale miners are not formalised is because of royalty payments, but we have found a way around this,” Nere said, adding, “One of the incentives we want to give our suppliers is paying royalties on their behalf.”
“We have a huge potential to be a Dubai for Africa,” she stated. “However, there is a lot that needs to be done to propel the sector forward.”