AfCFTA will help curb illegal business activities in mining sector-Minister

The Minister of Mines and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite has disclosed that the activities of illegal gold mining would be curbed by the implementation of AfCFTA.
He added that this would go a long way in  standardizing Mining practices in Nigeria.
Disclosing this at a NAN forum in Abuja, the Minister lamented that the mining sector was ignored by the Federal Government after oil was discovered,  adding that this paved the way po for artisanal miners to venture into the sector.
He said: “Right now, many Nigerians are into artisanal mining and this was caused by the fact that when oil was discovered, Nigeria moved away from mining, which was the mainstream of the economy.
“Before oil and gas, Nigeria relied on coal and tin; we were exporting and were indeed, quoted on the London Metal Exchange.
“And that is basically what was giving Nigeria money in those days before oil came but when oil came, we moved away. We left mining behind,” he said.
Acccording to him, the most sought after commodity in Nigeria by artisanal miners is gold, adding that it has created lucrative black market for international buyers.
He expressed optimism that with the advent of AfCFTA, documentation of mining exports would be required.
“Gold is the most traded mineral in Nigeria and these people mine gold and get nuggets. There are several thousands of such miners, when you aggregate what they mine, it comes in large volume and several kilos of gold,” he said.
“To know the extent of the money they make in the gold business, they hire private jets to take them out illegally because they realise a lot of money.
“At the rate gold is selling, one ounce of gold is selling for $2,200 and by the time you carry a thousand kilogrammes, you are making several billions of naira.
“But with AfCFTA coming into effect, we hope that other countries will cooperate with Nigeria because now it is a free trade but there is documentation,” he added.

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