Nigeria Mining and Metal Sector is set to witness increased interest of foreign investors as a result of the successes recorded by the Segilola Resources Operating Limited (SROL) in gold production, a West African subsidiary of Thor Exploration Limited which focuses on gold exploration, development and listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange. The Hon. Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite made this known at the weekend during a facility tour of SROL in Iperindo area of Osun State, South Western Nigeria.
The Minister also disclosed that an Aurelian company has commenced operation in Baba Tsauni area of Gwagwalada in the Federal Capital Territory carrying out an advanced exploration and mining project for Gold, Silver and Lead. “An Aurelian company came into Nigeria in 2021, brought some investment in and others are about starting operation while another company who has also made imprints in Nigeria is acquiring equities right now. So many other companies like that have come into Nigeria, some are at the explorative stages while some have even gone beyond that,” he further explained.
He attributed the sudden foreign interests in the Nigeria mining sector to the success story from SROL operations in Nigeria adding that Nigeria needs more of Segilola to return to the world mining map. In his words, “we need more of Segilola in Nigeria, you are the pioneer and we are happy that it is a success story because when I started going to the mining calendar events and invite them to invest in the sector, they were hesitant as they saw Nigeria as a shark infested water and wanted to see who dived in and came out first. They wanted to see how Thor exploration will fair, your success story is out there now and everybody wants to be the next Segilola”
According to him, the success story of Segilola has opened a new vista of opportunity for Nigeria and for Nigerians. He noted, “I was in Australia, Saudi Arabia, London, Canada, even the United States of America, everybody wants to come to Nigeria to do mining because of what Segilola has done, a lot of news out there is negative about Nigeria, but we have your story to tell as a company that came from outside and is able to survive in Nigeria.”
Adegbite disclosed that the SROL has paid about 1.1 billion Naira in royalties to the Federal Government, since they started production in 2021, expressing government’s wiliness to welcome more relevant investors like Segilola Resources Operating Limited as more investors come in, the more royalties to the government and more employment for Nigerians.
He encouraged communities to be receptive to mining companies so as to accelerate development in their communities, provide job opportunities for their teaming youth and create wealth. He appealed for continuous cooperation between the mining companies and the host communities as he said SROL has employed a lot of people; skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled from the neighborhood. “They employed a lot of people, the communities are benefiting, they have gone beyond the Community Development Agreement (CDA) which is compulsory and now doing a lot under Community Social Responsibility (CSR), this should be an encouragement,” he added.
The Minister ascribed earlier hesitation of foreign interest in the sector to the notion that Nigeria was being seen as an oil and gas country. This perception, was however changed with accelerated investment in exploration through the National Integrated Mining Exploration Project (NIMEP) and its generated data.
He called on more foreign mining companies to invest in Nigeria and take advantage of the abundant mineral resources not just gold but also other minerals spread all over different parts of the country such as Lithium, Coal, Nickel and Cobalts, among others.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Segilola Resources Operating Limited, Segun Lawson appreciated the support and motivation received from Federal Government which he believes is responsible for the success so far recorded.
Lawson said the company is not only running commercial operation as they have made a lot of social impact to the communities around them. He reiterated that his company has fulfilled all the promises made in the CDA signed with the host communities and have gone ahead into CSR which includes, building of markets, schools, construction of bridges, provision of scholarships, portable water, among others.
He highlighted the challenges faced by the company to include the issue of illegal mining in his domain as he appealed for the continuous support of the Ministry and other government agencies to overcome such challenges, adding that plan is underway to expand exploration and production of gold to other States and diversify away from gold production.