Nigeria is hopeful recent reforms in the mining sector would rake in about 500 million dollars annually through taxes and royalties.
President Muhammadu Buhari who made the call on Thursday said the move will also generate 250, 000 jobs thereby reducing unemployment.
According to him the reforms now makes artisanal mining legal and will create gold buying centres and tax trade of the precious metal.
Illegal mining is rampant in the North West of Nigerian has over the years fueled widespread violence attribute to “thiefs”.
Unconfirmed statistics reveals thousands of people have been killed in the region in recent years and swathes of the region are inaccessible despite deployment of the military to tackle the conflict which is unending.
Experts believe the extra revenues from the country’s gold could be a lifeline as the coronavirus pandemic and resulting global oil price crash cut off much of the state’s income.
Mr Buhari revealed Nigeria has lost a total of $3 billion from 2012 to 2018 because of illegal gold mining.
In February, Nigeria licensed two gold refineries mainly to produce gold for the central bank to hold in its reserves but also for export. The bank received its first locally-produced gold bar on Thursday.
The West African country has largely untapped deposits of 44 minerals including gold, iron ore, coal, tin and zinc, in more than 500 locations, but mining makes up just 0.3% of the economy.
By Fred Dzakpata