Everything You Need To Know About The Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI);
Nigeria has produced, for the first time ever, in June 2020, artisanally-mined gold that has been processed and refined according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) standards required for the use of gold as a reserve instrument by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
This means that the Central Bank will be purchasing gold that has been mined, processed and refined under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative for use as part of Nigeria’s external reserves.
The first batch of artisanally-mined gold bars to be purchased by the Central Bank will be unveiled at a presentation ceremony to President Buhari on July 16, 2020. This milestone is a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to diversifying Nigeria’s economy and foreign reserves.
This milestone is the culmination of 24 months of intense efforts between the Solid Minerals Development Fund, Kebbi and Osun States Government, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning under a Steering Committee led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
So, what exactly is PAGMI?
The Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (“PAGMI”) is a comprehensive artisanal and small-scale gold mining development programme, launched in 2019 to foster the formalization and integration of artisanal gold mining activities into Nigeria’s legal, economic, and institutional framework.
PAGMI has been designed to integrate social, environmental, health and safety, economic, commercial, and technical considerations, into its implementation.
PAGMI is designed as a broader strategy to address the structural and institutional factors such as rural poverty, lack of alternative livelihoods, and difficulties in meeting legal and regulatory requirements that tend to push artisanal gold mining operators deeper into the informal economy.
Background / Context:
Using data from UN Comtrade, PAGMI estimates that between 2012-2018, 97 tonnes of gold valued at over $3 billion was illegally smuggled out of Nigeria.
In addition to the economic sabotage, illegal artisanal mining has fueled instability and mercury and lead poisoning incidents across gold mining communities. Unregulated artisanal mining places a significant burden on fragile health systems. From 2010 to 2016, there were more than 7,000 incidences of lead poisoning, resulting in 700 deaths related to gold mining activities in Zamfara and Kebbi alone.
His Excellency, the President, approved PAGMI in 2019 to address these issues and foster the integration of artisanal gold mining into the formal system.
PAGMI seeks to tackle and resolve these longstanding issues, while also contributing to President Buhari’s vision to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade.