The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has urged the Federal Government to formalise gemstones’ mining to make it a critical contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Its President, Adetokunbo Kayode, made the call yesterday in Abuja at the opening of the 2019 African Gemstones and Jewellery Exhibition and Seminar (AGJES).
The 2019 AGJES, with the theme: Mines Market: Retailing Africa to the World, was organised by ACCI in collaboration with Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and Gemstone Miners and Marketers Association of Nigeria (GMMAN).
Kayode explained that Nigeria’s coloured stones were well rated, adding that one of the major impediments to a sustained growth of the gemstones industry was activities of artisanal miners who are, in most cases, foreigners.
“As major players in this business, the plight of Nigeria is worrisome. We have rich array of gemstones in Nigeria but hardly have we mobilised the critical mass needed to maximise the huge potential in this line of business.
“This has stimulated our interest in this sector. In talking about the value chain, we have those involved in mining, processing as well as those who are cutting, polishing, warehousing and marketing these precious stones.
“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, the monumental progress made by other countries can be replicated here with the large deposits diversity, occurrence and the spread in coloured stones in the country.
“According to analyst, cut red tourmalines can sell for over $1,000 per carat in similar manner as emeralds, rubies and sapphires which Nigeria is well endowed with, are actually the most monetarily valuable gemstones,” he said.