36-year-old Nigerian business person , Nere Teriba, who is the Vice Chairman of Kain Smith Trade and Co Ltd had enthusiasm for goldsmithing and she took the plunge without disapproving of the way that it’s an undiscovered zone in Nigeria, presently she is the first since forever and most youthful Nigerian to refine gold locally, isn’t this only an incredible news to begin 2019 with?
As you only us to praise Nere, how about we advise you that it took her few persevering minutes previously her organization got the gold refining permit, since she has cleared way, people with comparable enthusiasm would now be able to get utilized in her firm while some could even go to the degree of making her sort of strong stride too, this is past astonishing, great done Nere Teriba!
“On one hand, we can say it took a couple of months, then again, it took seven years,” says 36-year-old Nere Teriba in a select meeting on to what extent it took the organization to anchor the gold refining permit.
Nere Speaks On Kain Smith’s License Journey
It was a gathering of readiness and open door for Nere, who had a proposition on a gold hold purchasing program for the nation prepared when she was welcome to join the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) center labs. Her proposition featured the requirement for a gold strategy and a system for gold refinery permit allow structure for any individual who needs to apply for one.
The proposition by Nere’s Kian Smith presented a defense for the foundation of a Nigerian Gold Council which will be accountable for the nation’s gold approach.
“The foundation of the chamber will drive development, animate the economy, and create pay for government coffers,” the proposition states. “Nigeria can turn into a gold economy regardless of whether it mines gold or not. India, UAE, Singapore, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey and London are famous world gold markets without the arrangement of gold mining nations.”
Kian Smith brought up some imperative issues in its proposition, some of which framed the premise of our (TheNerve Africa) exchange with Nere when we met her at a workmanship themed coffee bar in Victoria Island, Lagos in October, weeks before the earth shattering of her refinery.
Nere delayed at various interims amid our discussion, respectfully clarifying, each time, why she needed to answer her telephone calls. Nere runs a multimillion-dollar minerals, products and mineral administrations organization, which has developed immensely more than seven years. Sleeves dependably up, prepared to work, Nere plays in a male-commanded industry, where ladies now and again need to work twice as difficult to have wanted effect. To Nere, mining is a calling and she would give everything necessary to encourage Nigeria and by expansion, West Africa outfit the mining economy.
In what manner can the current gold esteem chain be sorted out and fortified?
One of the inquiries presented in Kian Smith’s proposition comes from Nere’s conviction that the Nigerian mining industry isn’t as broken as the vast majority accept.
“The issue isn’t that there is no direction, it’s simply that they are not implemented,” clarifies Nere, who has anticipates how to enable the legislature to comprehend a portion of the real difficulties looked in the mining business, particularly as it concerns distinctive and little scale mineworkers.
Mining in Nigeria
Composed mining in Nigeria began in 1903 when the British Secretary of State for the Colonies built up the Mineral Survey of the Southern Protectorate of Nigeria. In 1904, a study of the Northern Protectorate was likewise settled as the investigation of mineral assets for use as crude materials in Britain started. Therefore, a few mineral stores including Columbite, Bitumen, Coal, Iron Ore and Gold were found. In any case, it was not until 1913 that Gold generation began, topping during the 1930s before World War II achieved a decay.
Nigeria had no real option except to take part in the war, being a settlement of Britain. With Britain’s monetary, modern and military power debilitated by World War I, the kingdom fell back on its provinces, utilizing both their human and common assets to arraign WWII. Provincial organizations relinquished mines amid the war and the gold mining industry has not recuperated from that point forward.
In spite of the fact that during the 1980s the Nigerian Mining Corporation (NMC) continued gold investigation, it couldn’t support it. Quick forward to the 2000s, high quality mining has turned into a thing in Nigeria, from Bin Yauri in northern Nigerian’s Kebbi State, to Bagega in Zamfara State where 163 individuals passed on from lead harming in 2010.
Distinctive mining had crested in Bagega when gold costs soar amid the Great Recession. Indeed, even agriculturists left their products and concentrated on mining. Amid the period, the cost of gold went as high as $1,000 per troy ounce, so much that even little finds by little scale mineworkers paid well.
Till date, a large portion of the mining done in Nigeria is finished by high quality and little scale diggers (ASM), making directions hard to implement.
Illicit Gold Mining In Nigeria
“The thing is, there has been a colossal hole. We relinquished the area, went for oil and the general population took up the vacuum,” Nere clarifies, including that their exercises, while high quality are not really illicit.
“Along these lines, illicit mineworkers are not really high quality excavators. Here and there, there are colossal organizations mining wrongfully. Mining unlawfully is on the off chance that you are mining off allow and not following fair treatment,” the Kian Smith manager clarifies.
With a restored responsibility to building up the mining business, the Nigerian government, similar to others crosswise over Africa, is starting to perceive how vital high quality and little scale diggers are to the development of the business. Henceforth, the administration service responsible for mining in Nigeria is endeavoring to formalize high quality mining to guarantee some type of control in the space.
Kian Smith is working with little and medium scale excavators to source gold for its refinery. The organization is additionally working with high quality mineworkers, whose exercises it will be a vital piece of formalizing.
“One of the significant reasons a few little scale excavators are not formalized is a result of sovereignty installments, but rather we have discovered a route around this,” Nere says, clarifying how Kian Smith will guarantee the ASMs it works with are formalized. “One of the motivators we need to give our providers is paying sovereignties for their sake.”
The thought is by all accounts working fine, as Kian Smith has possessed the capacity to join 200 providers in under three weeks. “We will enable them to get enlisted with the Corporate Affairs Commission in January,” Nere says.
Kian Smith will likewise be sourcing gold for its refinery from different parts of Africa, including Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. One provider working crosswise over Ghana and Sierra Leone has effectively dedicated to providing Kian Smith 100Kg of gold every month. On the whole, the organization has marked Memoranda of Understanding with around 200 providers.
In spite of the fact that Nigeria is accepted to have gold stores of up to 200 million oz, there are no records to indicate precisely how much gold is mined in the nation.
“In any case, from my examination, there are around 2 tons of gold physically available for use every month,” says Nere. In any case, she concedes that “we can’t measure the amount of that 2 tons is from neighboring African nations, and the amount of that 2 tons is mined locally”.
Nigeria’s neighbors have been increasingly gainful, with Ghana creating 95 tons of gold in 2015. Mali created 50 tons around the same time and Burkina Faso delivered 34 tons, yet Nigeria could just oversee 4 tons, as records appear. Nere trusts this figure demonstrates how much the nation could be losing by not formalizing high quality digging which even represented a gigantic level of the 4 tons detailed in 2015. The vast majority of the nations with conventional gold generation records in Africa have started to perceive high quality digging and are searching for approaches to formalize their exercises.
In Ghana, high quality, little scale mineworkers, prevalently known as galamsey have turned out to be progressively critical. They are in charge of all jewel generation in the West African nation and their commitment to gold creation is expanding. The administration is presently preparing little scale diggers in economical mining strategies as a major aspect of a guide that tries to address unlawful mining in the nation.
Nere likewise thinks there is a tech arrangement Nigeria can receive. The Computer Engineering graduate said her organization made a versatile arrangement — Zokia framework, a portable stage to enroll and bank high quality diggers.
“When we were doing our pilot in Chikun, Kaduna state, we enlisted 1200 high quality diggers, labeling the gold from mine, through the esteem chain, the distance,” she says. “We likewise utilized portable cash, as an approach to in the end sharpen them, to get them off money installment and protect their monies. More than 300 of the enrolled 1,200 utilize portable cash for installments.”
Nere clarifies that in the same class as the arrangement could be for formalizing mining all things considered and decreasing the occurrence of unlawful mining, distinctive and little scale diggers have no motivation to burn through cash on tech, as they don’t consider it to be fundamental to their business.
Be that as it may, governments focused on diminishing unlawful mining to the barest least can pay for a tech arrangement, for example, Kian Smith’s and make it open to high quality excavators for nothing. That could be a colossal advance in formalizing distinctive mining, particularly in Nigeria.
Putting resources into Mining
There have been endeavors in the past to convey the mining business up and coming to make it appealing to private speculation. Starting in 2007, the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act was presented, setting the principles for the investigation and misuse of strong minerals. The law expressed that the legislature possesses all the nation’s mineral assets. Be that as it may, in 2011, the year Kian Smith was enlisted in the nation, the administration discharged new mining directions, which was accepted would achieve more noteworthy responsibility in the r. This also, was reviewed, leading to the Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Industry which was adopted in September 2016.
The country is gradually getting it right, showing an unprecedented commitment to the growth of the mining industry, with the issuance of a gold refining licence to Kian Smith one of the recent wins in the industry. The company has already started work on the site of its new refinery in Ogun State, south west Nigeria. Nigeria’s Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari broke the ground at the site on December 13 as construction began.
“During the focus labs of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of this administration, we discovered that a well organised gold value chain can trigger an economic revolution like it did in India, South Africa, Switzerland and others,” Hon. Bwari said at the groundbreaking ceremony. He explained that his Ministry was determined to develop the mining sector to increase its contribution to Nigeria’s GDP, improve its capacity to create jobs and engender sustainable mining.
Ongoing construction work at site of Kian Smith Gold Refinery in Nigeria’s Ogun State.
Nere says the refinery will be ready to start production by the end of the first half of 2019.
While Nere did not disclose details of investment in the new refinery, which she says include both local and international interests, she says Kian Smith is working with several banks, including Stanbic IBTC Bank and Zenith Bank Plc. According to her, Kian Smith is also in talks with the African Finance Corporation (AFC).
“The truth is, we need banks,” says Nere. “Not even so much for the setup; we need banks for the trading. To buy an unlimited amount of gold, at any time, to refine; we need the banks,” Nere says
She dismisses the widely held belief that banks are not committed to the mining industry.
“The issue with banks is ‘show me your bankable feasibility study (BFS)’, and most Nigerian miners cannot show that, because they haven’t got the investors who will do the work to produce the BFS. So, the thing is banks are looking for that; Nigerians don’t have that.”
She adds that a bank would like to see a supply contract, a buying contract; “those are the transactions that banks are considering”.
Nere believes that for every player in the mining industry who can get their acts together, banks are always ready to do business. After all, she’s working with some banks to bring her refinery to life next year. Nere says the refinery has the potential to provide more than 500,000 direct and indirect jobs. But beyond jobs, Kian Smith is interested in helping to build the gold value chain in Nigeria.
Nere is hopeful things will get better but admits the mining industry in Nigeria is a tough one to play in. She highlights policy inconsistency and the reaction of mining communities to operators as two of the major challenges the industry faces.
“The reason why the sector has struggled and even investors have issues is because the Nigerian ecosystem does not encourage long-term investment and perseverance to get anything,” Nere says. “Everybody wants money now.”
One of the issues Nere’s Kian Smith is taking up with the government is how to grant gold a VAT-free status. She explained the dynamics of VAT as it concerns gold.
“Gold should be VAT-free because it’s a financial instrument. However, even if there will be VAT on gold, it should not be too high so as to encourage export. We need the government to review VAT status on gold bars and coins,” Nere says.
According to her, the Nigerian government is working with the United Nations Industrial Development Orgasnisation (UNIDO) and other bodies to decide an efficient policy on gold products and alloys.
Kian Smith is also working on seeing import duties on gold and gold doré reduced.
Nere says Kian Smith is committed to maintaining high standards, from purity of gold to sustainability in production. The company’s refinery in Ogun State has the capacity to produce 3 tonnes of gold and 1 tonne of silver per month, both at a purity of 99.99 percent.
UNIDO will help Kian Smith in sustainable mining, supporting ASMs that want to supply Kian Smith and are committed to sustainable mining. Kian Smith is also working with international development organization Pact, to ensure due diligence and safety of miners, as well as curb illegal mining.
Once Kian Smith produces its ethical gold, it will be looking towards central banks, jewelers in the Middle East, Turkey, Switzerland and several parts of Africa.
Already, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has committed to buying gold from Kian Smith as it stocks up the country’s gold reserves.
“CBN has not said volume, but they are ready to buy gold in either naira or USD. We are hopeful that by the end of second quarter, their terms and conditions will be clear,” Nere says.
Kian Smith is also in talks with other central banks. The company has also met with the London Bullion Metal Association (LBMA), Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) and World Gold COuncil (WGC) towards international certification process for Nigeria’s gold.
When TheNerve Africa first spoke with Nere in October, she was facing some challenges at her refinery site in Ogun, but she told TheNerve Africa that none of the things happening then would affect plans for the Kian Smith refinery to start working in 2019. “I’ve been here before,” Nere said, exuding the same confidence that has made her successful in a tough industry. The confidence, she says, stems from knowing that mining is her calling.
“Mining called me,” Nere declares. “It didn’t make sense when it was calling me because I was like ‘what is it about mining? This is a capital-intensive sector and am I sure this is the right sector to be calling me?’
“I wanted to meet people, so I met people in the sector and got their opinion: what do you think? Why are you in it?”
She continues: “It was interesting because they all talked about how horrible the experience is and I am like, but you are still there.
“I did some research, connected with some people in the sector here and they did their best to discourage me from getting into the sector but I still went in and I haven’t looked back.
“So I will say there is a mining bug; if it bites you, if it’s meant to be, no matter how hard it is, you will stick to it but if it is not meant to be, you will run.
“The people I talked to were all saying do not do it, it is challenging, it is rewarding, it’s amazing, but do not do it. So, I had to figure out the way to enter, because it is capital intensive and I didn’t have that kind of funds. So I entered by trading. Almost the same principles you use to trade anything else like land, supplies, and all of that. So that was how I entered. I entered by trading.”
The Kian Smith boss was in South Africa for a mining conference. There she met someone who wanted to bring his company to Nigeria. “I said I can do it for you, and that was how I did it. That was how I started trading.”
Nere says business has been good for Kian Smith despite the tough operating environment. “It is a difficult sector,” she reiterates. “It has its ups and downs. It has been challenging and there have been issues all around, but overall, if I look back, we have seen a steady progression. We see opportunities, we see challenges but we still said this is the sector we want to be in.”
Speaking on how hard Kian Smith had worked to get to its current level, Nere recalls her three months in Abuja for the ERGP focus labs. The Lab process is one of the several initiatives by the Nigerian government to fast-track the attainment of its ERGP objectives. The government had invited potential and existing investors, both foreign and Nigerian, who may be interested in investing in any of the three areas of focus — Agriculture and transportation, Power and gas, Manufacturing and processing (including solid minerals) — to attend closed-door sessions where prospective investors will have access in one location, to all the officials of government whose support, or approvals, they might need to enable them commit to an investment decision.
“I think after the first few days, we lost half the people because we spent several months in Abuja and you footed your own bills; the cost of your hotel, the cost of everything; this is not a government sponsored thing,” Nere explains. “For a lot of business people … like for me, I’m still recovering from putting a lot of things about the business on standstill for about 3 months.”
Nere says business owners had to ask themselves pertinent questions such as the wisdom in leaving their businesses for about 3 months at their own expense, “and at the end of the day you’re not even guaranteed that the government will even proffer a solution for you”.
She thinks Kian Smith was fortunate to be part of the focus labs and have its proposal accepted. “We were at a standstill for a major project. We were fortunate enough that we could take on that expense. It was huge because a lot of businesses that have a lot of better ideas and bigger problems did not have the opportunity to foot the expenses for three months in Abuja.”
The gold refining licence in hand, Nere has crossed another big hurdle as Kian Smith continues its growth, but again, she recalls one of the tough periods in the business’s growth and sighed.
“I have suffered,” she says. “But if you wait long enough … if you are patient long enough, things always work out fine.”
Sadly, “our generation has lost perseverance,” says Nere, who would love an opportunity to one day “genuinely talk to young people”.
“Our generation is a microwave generation,” Nere adds, stressing that social media has made success look easy so much that “young people are looking for shortcuts”.
Nere says she learnt doggedness from her father, the former Olu of Warri, who due to his Christian faith attempted to denounce a 500-year-old title Ogiame, which he said, was associated with a sea goddess. Kian Smith started before Ogiame Atuwatse II died in 2015, but Nere says she has never had a free pass using her father’s name or influence. She admits that her background played a huge role on the woman she has become but at the risk of sounding overly spiritual; Nere says her business achievements are so massive they couldn’t have been due to her background. She says they are supernatural.
“This is for the future of Nigeria; this is going to change Nigeria. It’s going to change Africa’s history. Africa will never remain the same again.”