Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has disclosed that an advanced exploration and mining project for gold, silver, and lead has commenced in Baba Tsauni area of Gwagwalada in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
This is even as he hinted that Segilola Resources Operating Limited (SROL), a West African subsidiary of Thor Exploration Limited, has paid about N1.1 billion in royalties to the federal government since they started production in 2021.
Adegbite made the disclosure during a facility tour of SROL in the Iperindo area of Osun State.
The minister in a statement issued in Abuja expressed the government’s willingness to welcome more relevant investors as SROL as a means to attract more royalties to the government and create more jobs for Nigerians.
According to him, “An Aurelian company came into Nigeria in 2021, brought some investment while others are about starting operation and another company which has also made imprints in Nigeria is acquiring equities right now.
“So many other companies like that have come to Nigeria; some are at the explorative stages while some have even gone beyond that.”
He noted that the earlier hesitation of foreign interest in the sector was as a result of the notion that Nigeria was being seen as an oil and gas country.
The minister said: “However, this perception changed with accelerated investment in exploration through the National Integrated Mining Exploration Project (NIMEP) and its generated data.”
He maintained that the sudden foreign interests in the Nigeria mining sector is the success story of SROL operations in Nigeria, adding that Nigeria needs more of Segilola which focuses on gold exploration and development, and is listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange to return to the world mining map.
“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 inviting 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’s exploration would fair, your success story is out there now and everybody wants to be the next Segilola,” Adegbite explained.
He encouraged communities to be receptive to mining companies so as to accelerate development in their communities, provide job opportunities for their youths and create wealth, as he appealed for continuous cooperation between the mining companies and the host communities.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of 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 the commercial operation as they have made a lot of social impact on the communities around them. He reiterated that his company has fulfilled all the promises made in the CDA signed with the host communities and has gone ahead into CSR which includes the building of markets and schools; construction of bridges, provision of scholarships, and potable water, among others.
He however highlighted the challenges faced by the company, including the issue of illegal mining, and appealed for the continuous support of the ministry and other government agencies to overcome such challenges, adding that plan is underway to expand the exploration and production of gold to other states and diversify away from gold production.