Heritage Bank Woos Small-holder Miners To Nigeria’s £4bn Gold Market

NEXIM In Talks With Heavy Equipment Manufacturers, Suppliers
The management of Heritage Bank Plc, on Wednesday in Abuja noted the enormous fallow potentials of Nigeria’s gold mining industry, which at a market worth of £4bn and an equally high prospect of profitability for all classes of players.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive of the bank, Ifie Sekibo, who discussed this at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit, said this was one reason financial institution delved into the mining sector, despite the enormous inherent risks.
In its bid to safeguard depositors’ funds, he said Heritage Bank is partnering Dukia Gold in order to enable local miners and artisans to get value for the commodity at international market rates.
Sekibo, who was represented by the Team Lead, Agric Finance, and Export, Adelana Ogunjirin, explained that before now, local gold miners encountered difficulty in trading the commodity favourably. All that has changed, he continued, with Dukia and Heritage Bank, conducting Quality-and-Quantity tests based on an arrangement.
This, he expects, will ensure added value for smallholder miners, stressing that with a metric tonne of Gold now valued at $30m, the industry is worth investing at this time. Moreso, he continued, gold is a kind of commodity that does not easily lose its value.

Continuing, he stressed that the nation’s “mining sector is an area which has not been fully tapped in terms of the potentials around it, as there are quite a lot of opportunities around that sector. Recently we secured a $1bn funding line with our funding partner AfreximBank, which also is to support areas like solid minerals.
“Now with respect to this we have looked at the value chain of this space and we have looked at the opportunities that are there. A lot of fund providers have not really delved into this and it is because of the lack of understanding of the market.
“In terms of value, gold is an area where you can enhance the value. You hardly see Gold losing value and you see that in different exchanges you even trade those commodities.
“Looking at it in terms of trend, you see that gold is something that will appreciate definitely. So in terms of the profitability of this business, we have looked at it, we have crunched the numbers and we see a space where the bank will definitely earn a lot of income.”
He also expressed optimism that other Nigerian banks would likely foray into the sector, but may have to study and understand the sectoral dynamics properly, as Heritage Bank has already done.
“Heritage Bank has already carved a niche for itself in agribusiness space, just like gold , this would be exported. So, in terms of export proceeds too, there are opportunities to be explored. Generally, looking at the Nigerian outlook, in the long run, this will also enhance the country’s external reserves. There are multiplier effects of what we are doing today and that is why we are also moving in this direction,” he noted.
Also speaking, Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, Abba Bello, revealed that the bank had gone into high-level discussions with heavy equipment manufacturers and suppliers that would lease equipment to miners for exploration and processing.
This, he believes, would expectedly make such heavy equipment accessible and affordable, going by “discussions with Bluecare and now Mantrac for the supply of heavy equipment for gold processing or exploration on lease basis and, it is something that does not exist currently within the industry.
“Barrick Gold and Bullion Mart is something that happens in the mining world. You don’t have to own the equipment, but there are vendors who supply the equipment for explorers to hire.
“Discussions have gone very far with the equipment suppliers and very soon we will announce the programme.”
Meanwhile, the Country Manager, ITM, Nigeria, Habibah Waziri, raised concerns over human resources development that would sustain the sector.
Waziri also said there is a need to formalize the sector and also invest in human capital in the sector for growth and development.

Photo caption: Right to Left: Team Lead, Agric Finance and Export Heritage Bank, Adelana Ogunjirin; Dr. Hadiza Gado; Managing Director/Chief Executive of Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM ), Abba Bello; Managing Director of Dukia Gold, Bose Owolabi; and Tunde Fagbemi, during NCIS Summit 2019 – Mining Master Class held at Transcorp Hotel Abuja.