Dr Ochechukwu Ogah, Minister of State, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) says the ministry recorded 1,562,720 grams of Gold production from 2016 to 2020.
Ogah disclosed this during the 2021 Annual Public Lecture organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Bwari branch, in collaboration with MMSD on Thursday in Abuja.
The theme of the event was Economic Diversification in the Post COVID-19 Era: Special focus on the Sustainable Development of Nigeria’s Coal and Gold.
He said that the ministry recorded 30,112.24 grams gold production in 2016 with 17,458.22 grams in 2017 and 64,000.05 grams in 2018.
He added that it had 162,742.53 grams in 2019 and 1, 288,407 in 2020 bring the total production to 1,562,720.04 grams.
According to him, Nigeria is blessed with abundant gold that can help to manage the effect of devaluation of our currency.
“Nigeria can use the gold produced to boost our foreign reserve as well.
“We can subdue insecurity militating against mining activities in Nigeria using all the methods that other countries are using,’’ he said.
He said that there was no doubt that the gold resources of Nigeria could contribute immensely to the economic diversification of the country but more contributions and efforts from stakeholders were expected.
He also explained that Nigeria’s gold reserve was estimated to be over a million ounces in Osun where detailed exploration and reserves checks were done.
He said that the impact of COVID-19 was most felt by both small and big mining operators, adding that mining and quarry companies were unable to produce and sell mineral commodities to generate income among others.
On coal, he said that available data showed that coal occurred in commercial quantities and grade in 22 coal fields spread across 16 states in Nigeria.
According to him, the ministry is aspiring to have a coal industry that is producing large tonnages of coal for electricity generation and other domestic use and generate revenues for government.
Mrs Halimat Adediran, Chairman, Bwari branch of the Society said that coal was one of the major sources of power generation in South Africa adding that Nigeria had high quality coal that could be tapped for power generation.
Adediran said that available coal in Nigeria could also generate foreign exchange for the Federal government.
According to her, the Nigeria’s gold, which can be refined to meet the standard of the London Bullion Market Association, is grossly under tapped.
Mr Babagana Mohammed, President of NSE called for private sector involvement in mining activities for government to achieve its diversification agenda.
By Francisca Oluyole