Nigeria is endowed with precious stones that can earn the country billions of dollars in the global market, Amb. Regina Edzuwah, the Co-promoter, African Gems and Jewellery Exhibition and Seminar (AGJES), has said.
Speaking on the planned 2nd edition of AGJES scheduled to hold on Dec. 6, in Abuja, Edzuwah, said: “ precious stones, which include sapphire, ruby, equamarine, emerald, tourmaline, topaz, garnet, zircon, amethyst among others are highly recognised and appreciated abroad.’’
“Experts in this field say copper bearing tourmaline, which is a rare form of mineral found in Oyo can fetch up to 5,000 dollars per carat in the international market.
“Gemstones business is a big income generator through which the country should be making good money,” she said.
She said that global report asserts that scarce precious gems like beryl and aquamarine, sapphires, zircon in bubblegum pink and watermelon tourmaline grades from green to red could only be sourced from four countries.
She said they could be sourced in Nigeria, Tibet, Afghanistan and Brazil, adding that “Nigeria is a recognised source for gemstone in the international gemstones market.’’
“Gemstone business mining in Nigeria has boomed in various parts of Plateau, Kaduna, Taraba and Bauchi among others, but Nigeria’s economy is yet to benefit from this boom.
“It is for this reason that AGJES had its first outing in 2017, to bring to limelight, the hitherto overlooked gemstone sector.”
She said that the first edition of the programme held in 2017 was a resounding success, adding that the event gathered relevant players and stakeholders across the entire value chain, attracting over 2000 visitors.
According to her, the 2018 event will attract 30 companies comprising artisanal miners, jewelers and relevant governmental agencies, adding that Benin traditional jewelers and Bida bronze and international jewellers will also attend the event.
Mrs Georgina Ehuriah, the Permanent Secretary, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development said as much as 70 per cent coloured stones supplied globally came from African countries including Nigeria.
Ehuriah said that it became imperative to develop the industry and grow capacity to enjoy the full potential and benefits from these precious stones in the international market.
“It is the expectation of the ministry that positive outcome will be realised at the end of the event, she said.
The theme for this year’s edition is: “Mines 2 Market: Collaborating to improve industry linkages; healing Africa through Gemstones”.