The Federal Government has warned artisanal and informal miners to desist from selling raw gemstones at ridiculous prices for export to countries like the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the United States of America.
Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Gbemisola Saraki, gave the warning on the occasion of the graduation and send forth of Batch two Master Gemstone and Jewelry Making and Design trainees in Abuja.
It said that it had commenced the process of discouraging the perpetrators involved in such act, thereby engaging experts to train locals in gemstones and jewelry production to compete with counterparts anywhere in the world.
Saraki, who spoke at the presentation of certificates to the students, disclosed that Nigeria is abundantly blessed with several varieties of mineral resources such as precious and semi-precious gemstones.
She added that some of the most popular Nigerian gemstones include, Sapphire, Aquamarine, Beryl, Emerald, Tourmaline, Ruby, Garnet, Amethyst and Zircon which are located across the country, but sadly are illegally exported out of the country in raw forms.
The minister who congratulated the World Bank and the MinDiver Project for their vision and laudable endeavor. Saraki urged the graduands to put into use the training received, adding that the current contribution of the solid minerals sector to the country’s overall GDP is less than one per cent and reports in 2019 revealed that gemstones worth three billion dollars are exported annually from the country mostly unofficially with low revenue returns.