The federal government yesterday commissioned the operation of Dukia Gold and Precious Metals Project (DGPMP) that would enable Nigeria to mine her gold reserves properly, trade responsibly and refine locally. The Federal Government of Nigeria has commended Heritage Bank for being part of a valuable private sector collaboration with Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Co. Ltd, saying such partnership stands to create new opportunities for Nigeria to grow its potential reserves of 200 million ounces of gold. The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who performed the virtual commissioning of the project, said Nigeria has potential reserves of 200 million ounces of gold reserves. Osinbajo disclosed that the DGPMP has been seven years in the making and it was his pleasure to see that the project is ready to begin operations. He affirmed that the launch of this expansive project between Heritage Bank and Dukia Gold would enable Nigeria to mine reserves properly, trade responsibly, refine locally and boost the nation\u2019s foreign reserves. He stated, \u201cWhat we are looking at here is an extremely valuable new source of trade, jobs and foreign exchange. \u201cThis project will create primary employment for local artisanal miners and mining cooperatives, and across the solid minerals value chain. Off-take agreements between Dukia Gold and local mining communities and owners of recyclable gold will be a useful provider of jobs in our post-COVID economy. \u201cThe positive multiplier is expected to extend even further than this as the Dukia Gold project will also encourage the emergence of smaller-scale mining companies who, for the first time, will now have a transparent and welcoming market for their mined gold and precious metals. This is set to create jobs and unleashes the economic potential of mining communities.\u201d Osinbajo further counted the enormous benefits of the project, \u201cThis provides a sustainable way for Nigerians to exchange their gold jewellery and other precious items for cash. This system of exchange not only helps encourage a culture of recycling but will also serve as a complementary source for the raw materials needed for the Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Company. These buying centres will also enable the responsible management of some of the electronic waste.\u201d Meanwhile, the project would further drive the diversification of the nation\u2019s economy, Heritage Bank Plc, Dukia Gold which has given birth to new gold and precious metal market that will grow the mining industry\u2019s contribution to gross domestic products to over 10% by 2026. Records have shown that the growth of mining production at the end of 2019 in Nigeria was 0.1% and the sector still contributes less than 0.5% of GDP compared to other African economies who are strong in mining like Botswana (38%), Democratic Republic of Congo (25%), South Africa (18%), Zambia (18%), Guinea (12%) and Ghana (7%). However, the MD\/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, stated that the partnership that would boost the mining industry production has given birth to a new market, a platform that will contribute immensely to the transformation of Nigeria\u2019s economy.