Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has hinted that in a couple of weeks, the Segilola Gold project owned by a Canadian gold exploration and development company, Thor Exploration Ltd, in Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria will start producing gold in the country.
Adegbite made the disclosure on Monday while playing host to a delegation from a British Gold mining firm, Aurelia Mining Company Ltd, led by the company’s director, Julian Hammond, to his office in Abuja, seeking to invest in gold.
“In the next couple of weeks we will start gold production from Illesha; it was a little bit delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We all know about Segilola gold project in Ogun State, owned by Thor Exploration, a Canadian company that is into exploration and they are quoted on the Toronto Exchange, and recently in the last three weeks quoted on the London Exchange as well.
“In a couple of weeks they should be commencing production of gold in Nigeria. That is the kind of success story I am looking forward to from Aurelia at the end of the day,” the minister said.
He noted that the aggressive investment driving campaign embarked upon by the ministry in the recent past, including the tour of some mining countries to sensitise them on Nigeria’s solid minerals potentials, have started yielding results in the foreign investors that are now coming in, noting that it was also in the course of that they encountered Aurelia in the United Kingdom.
“I was in South Africa, London, Toronto among others, and with all these we were able to convince investors, to say, look, Nigeria is a place to come to,” he said.
He expressed delight in the success stories recorded in the Nigerian mining sector in terms attracting more local and international investors in recent times, noting that the federal government has done lots of exploration on gold and other minerals to acquire data with a view to making Nigeria a mining destination of the world.
“We have a project called the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) going on in parts of the country even as the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) is doing exploration,” he said.
While speaking on the mission which brought the team down earlier, Hammond, the leader of the delegation, said they see Nigeria becoming a powerhouse in gold production in West Africa and aspiring to diversify the economy away from oil and gas and have come to key into the country’s abundant mineral potentials.
The delegation said their company is preparing to invest up to US$100 million in gold mining in Nigeria. Hammond told the minister that the company will start by doing a test drill to assess the amount of gold available.
“The company will commence a small mining operation with US$5 to 10 million first,” and if the gold deposit is as big as expected, the company will invest about US$100 million for a period of 10 to 15 years, he said.