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Women in mining showcase opportunities in gold, gemstones at 2022 conference

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Women in Mining in Nigeria (WIMiN), Lagos State chapter, yesterday kicked off a two-day conference and exhibition meant to showcase the immense opportunities in gold and gemstone in Nigeria. The event billed for November 4 and 5, 2022 was held at the Metropolitan Club, Victoria Island, Lagos State.

The programme, otherwise known as the Lagos Gold and Gemstones Conference and Exhibition 2022, focused on the theme “ Unveiling Nigerian Gold and Gems to the World”, had in attendance the former minister of external affairs, Odein Ajumogobia; Oluwatoyin Akinlade, permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development; Musa Muhammad, president, Miners Association of Nigeria; Janet Adeyemi, president/founder, Women in Mining in Nigeria; Foluke Ademokun, Lagos State coordinator, WIMiN, and Salim Sallam,project coordinator, World Bank Mini Development Project, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

Others are Sholabomi Mosunmola Shasore, permanent secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources; Olusina Sipasi, partner, Aelex Law Firm; Laura Ani, senior research fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies; Jumoke Fajemirokun, partner at ENR Advisory, and Adeyemi Adebare, from Barry Gold Nigeria Limited.

Welcoming all the stakeholders, Janet Adeyemi explained why the Lagos chapter of WIMiN decided to organise the maiden edition of gold and gemstone conference and exhibition.

“The choice of Lagos is primarily because it is the economic hub of Nigeria as well as its proximity to the gold and gemstones mines in Osun, Oyo and Ekiti states; the industrial complexes in Ogun State as well as the ancient markets in gold jewellery in the heart of Lagos.”

She added that the conference and exhibition would bring to the forefront the economic opportunities in the gold, gemstones and jewellery sector, for investors in the manufacturing equipment and finished products. According to her, the event would create a path for local development and sustainability of gold and gemstones in the country, in line with globally acceptable standards.

Women in Mining in Nigeria (WIMiN) is a business membership and non-profit organisation set up as a leading change agent to promote gender equality and equity by advocating for the best international practice hinged on accountability, sustainability, good governance and transparency for all. The body currently has over 3,000 members across 23 states in Nigeria.

Highlights of the event include the exhibition of uncut and polished gemstones, exhibition of finished jewellery products by indigenous jewellers, provision of damaged jewellery restoration, plenary/interactive session with world class speakers, panellists, workshop and training sessions.

Others are the creation of the platform for one on one private meeting (B2B), opportunities to network and promote mining and associated businesses, award dinner for trailblazer organisations and dignitaries who have made an impact and supported WIMiN Lagos Chapter, and competition for best jewellery designer in Nigeria. The award dinner will take place on November 5, 2022 at the same venue.

According to Future Market Insights, the global gemstone market is currently worth $30.8 billion and is projected to hit $53.1 billion by 2032 which explains why WIMiN Lagos State chapter is interested in the precious materials.

Oluwatoyin Akinlade listed the modest achievements of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development which included the setting up of mine clusters in each geopolitical zones in the country; the formalisation of gemstone market in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital and the training of Nigerians towards having skilled manpower in the sector.

Read also: Women Group lauds mining ministry over web portal

“It is now an offence to take our gemstones or solid minerals out of the country without the necessary documentation. We do not want our gemstones to become like oil that is refined from outside the country,” Akinlade said.

Shasore agreed with the earlier speakers that the setting up of the gemstone market in Ibadan was a step in the right direction especially now that gold is one of the strategic gemstones in Nigeria.

“The significance of this information is that it will drive the production of strategic solid minerals in Nigeria,” Shasore said.

Awardees that are expected at the Award Dinner programme on November 5, 2022 at the same venue include David Nwaze Umahi, governor of Ebonyi State for the “Most Supportive Governor on Gender Mainstreaming in Nigeria 2022”; Olamilekan Adegbite, minister of mines and steel development for the “Nigeria Medal Award” category; Fatima Shinkafi, executive secretary, Solid Minerals Development Fund for the “Deborah Enilo Ajaikaye Award”;Anna Smith, chairman, Fanalou Mining Company Limited, for the Best Women Owned Mining Company; Olabode Fakunle, Geo-Works Nigeria Limited for the “Indigenous(SS) Mining Company of the Year”, among others.