Kian Smith Gold Refinery, which is setting up the first gold refinery in Nigeria, is to host the first ever West Africa gold conference, the company has said.
Tagged Gold West Africa, the regional conference, which will bring together players from different countries, is a strategic collaborative effort between Kian Smith Gold Refinery and Noemdek, a Nigeria-based international advisory firm.
“This is the first regional conference in West Africa on gold” Nicole Smith, Gold West Africa event manager, told BusinessDay.
Smith noted that out of the 15 ECOWAS countries, Cape Verde, Benin and Togo are the only countries without notable gold reserves. However, Benin and Togo are notable for gold trade. All other ECOWAS countries have either significant documented gold reserves, internationally listed gold mining companies or a significant footprint of artisanal gold mining. Despite this, there is presently no internationally recognised gold ‘market centre’ in Africa.
“West Africa has a thriving underground gold economy that if regulated, could unlock the West African region as the gold market centre of Africa,” she noted.
Smith said the event will bring 150 critical gold sector stakeholders from over 14 countries together with the aim of establishing a strong West African public and private sector lobby around the precious metal that could become the economic game changer for the region.
The conference, which comes up on June 25-26 in Lagos, will focus on developing the West African gold economy by strengthening the region’s gold value chain and enabling relevant policies and market infrastructure for the gold ecosystem by positioning Nigeria as pivotal to the sector’s development.
“Creating a sustainable gold value chain means ensuring benefit to individuals, governments, companies, investors and to the environment” Smith assures.
By doing this, the company positions itself as solution-oriented to the gold market challenges and equally stands to contribute significantly to the economy of Nigeria and Africa.
According to Smith, the company is playing a part in finding solutions that ensure Africa benefits from its own resource wealth.
Gold West Africa Conference makes it a priority the importance of creating a workable gold policy for the region in order to facilitate more investments into the value chain.
“Creating an internationally recognised gold market centre in Africa is important,” said Smith, adding that “Africa must start to benefit from its own resource wealth.”
She added that formalising the small-scale gold sector as well as creating a favourable trade environment will go a long way to developing the gold economy of Africa.
According to Smith, critical to the conference is to explore important issues around gold policy and how to strengthen the gold value chain.
Also, the conference will explore gold trade and its impacts on monetary policy as well as examining the status and trends of West African gold consumption, and how this market can be encouraged.
In addition, the conference will explore strategies to develop world-class gold projects from exploration to production; the need and benefits of formalising the artisanal gold mining sector and the importance of facilitating investment and funding throughout the value chain.
Kian Smith Gold Refinery, located in Mowe, Ogun State, will be operational soon, according to the company, it has already made in-roads into formalising the Nigerian gold supply chain with initiatives that address traceability and sustainability.
JOSEPH MAURICE OGU