The federal government has announced Nigeria’s discovery of gold along the Abuja-Nassarawa axis, through the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP).
Minister of Mines and Steel Development., Olamilekan Adegbite, disclosed this in a statement issued during the visit of the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule to the Ministry on Tuesday.
Adegbite said the NIMEP project that has cost the ministry N15 billion generated troves of geoscience data that made foreign investors happy about the juicy mining prospects in the country.
He added that the ministry was resolved to avoid a repeat of the Zamfara experience in Nasarawa State, in which bandits were largely in charge of the gold mining in that state.
According to him, “It is a pleasure to receive the governor of Nasarawa State in my office today and this should not be a surprise because Nasarawa State is the home of solid minerals in the country. We had an earlier discussion about recent discoveries of precious minerals along the Nasarawa, Abuja axis.
“As you probably might be aware, we have been talking about this for a while, there is a programme we call NIMEP executed by the ministry where the government has put about N15 billion into exploration for minerals, one of which is gold, and we have done this exploration over the country and have discovered a very nice track of gold deposits especially between Abuja and Nasarawa where we share borders.”
Speaking about the concerns of the Nasarawa state government over the menace of illegal gold mining snowballing in the state, he said the ministry was working with relevant security agencies to avert such an unwanted scenario from happening.
He added: “We know that gold mining attracts a lot of undesirables. Wherever these people smell gold, if I may use the word smell, whenever they have an inkling that there is gold, it somehow attracts these undesirable elements.
“It always follows that we have illegality developing around there. However, we are working hard to nip these in the bud.
“We don’t want banditry to come to Nasarawa and Abuja on the trail of gold as it has unfortunately happened in Zamfara. You’ll recall that just about a week or two ago, the government reiterated its ban in Zamfara.
“Mining was actually banned in Zamfara in April 2019, and about a few weeks ago the government had to reiterate that ban and also had to declare a no-fly zone. So we do not want a repeat of that in Nasarawa State.”