(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – According to Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite, the country is ready to commence its first industrial gold production by the first quarter of 2021 as a $98 million gold refinery being built by Thor Exploration Limited nears completion.
Adegbite disclosed this during a chat with reporters in Abuja, where he added that the success of the project will serve as an impetus for mining in the country that has a large deposit of gold but left for illegal miners to have a field day, using crude means to exploit it.
Thor Explorations Ltd. is spending $98 million to develop the project, which will have an annual average output of 80,000 ounces. Lagos-based Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) is providing Thor Explorations Ltd a $86 million debt-equity financing package to help realise the dream
Thor’s Segilola mine in the southwest is projected to yield gold by the end of the first quarter of 2021, according to Adegbite, who added that the success of Segilola will be key to attracting other mining companies to Nigeria, which offers incentives including tax holidays and customs waivers on imported equipment, he said.
Nigeria has sizable untapped deposits of metals including iron ore, gold, zinc and lead, but almost all extraction is done on a small-scale or manual basis. The government wants to increase mining’s contribution to gross domestic product to 3% by 2025, from less than 0.1% currently.
Successive administrations have pledged to grow mining’s role in the economy since Nigeria restored multi-party democracy in 1999. Legislation to expand the sector was passed more than a decade ago.
POTENTIAL IMPACT: The successful completion and takeoff of the project will be key to attracting other mining companies to Nigeria, accelerate the country’s economic diversification drive, create jobs and increase the country’s GDP.