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Precious Mines targets 51% of local demand for solid minerals

By Petyer Egwuatu
PRECIOUS Mines & Mineral Processing Company (PMMPC) Limited, a subsidiary of DVCF Oil & Gas Plc, has announced its readiness to deliver over 51% of the country’s local demand for marble and other precious stones.

This target draws from the vision of the company to be on the top spot among players in the solid minerals processing industry. Vice-Admiral Samuel Afolyan, (Rtd) CFR, Chairman of PMMPC, speaking at the 2008 annual general meeting, last week re-emphasized this, noting  “the vision of the founding shareholders is to develop into a global leader in mining industry providing quality products using best global practice.”

In actualizing the above, the company is concluding arrangements to commission its integrated ultra-modern marble processing plant located in Oke-page in Kwara State. The plant, which is 100 per cent completed will commence full operations this month.

The structure and design of the integrated operation of the company progresses from mining of marble blocks at the quarry to processing of the blocks into dimension stones, and the pulverizing/million of powder to stock-feed other manufacturing processes of a variety of products.  Specifically, the milling of powder of varied colour and sizes forms the core raw material in the paint and chemical industries, pharmaceuticals, glass, ceramics, oil & gas industries.

DVCF Oil & Gas Plc, a leading venture capital company, holds 30 per cent equity stake in PMMPC while 127 others hold the remaining 70 per cent.

Anthony Eze, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, DVCF Oil & Gas Plc, remarked that PMMPC has progressed from being an entrepreneurial initiative to an entrenched going concern. Production of blocks has commenced and there are available stocks for sale presently. Work is being conducted in two shifts with adequate stocks of raw materials on site while specific field has been earmarked for blasting to provide all year round boulders for the operations.

The Chairman presented details of the level of development in the Company. According to him PMMPC has over 23square kilometers of calcite marble field with 123m, 3 million of deposits. The over burden removal and production within the first bench of quarry face one has progressed significantly.

He noted that the yield of over 20% from the first bench confirms the superior quality of the core deposits.  He explained that the 2nd to the 6th benches are earmarked to be developed in the current campaign period just as work is in progress to open quarry phase two. A combination of these operations is estimated to yield 7500-12,000m3 per annum, he said.  For the processing operations, the Chairman said the quarry has produced sufficient blocks that will be processed into tiles in the next 12 months, adding that the factory will record buoyant activities in the last quarters of the year 2009. According to Afolayan, full pulverizing operations will commence early next year as the recently installed Pulverizing equipment is being test-run.

The investors, after reviewing the level of development of the plant expressed their satisfaction and urged the management to intensify efforts to ensure that full production commences as scheduled.PMMPC has the highest advantage of available market for all its products as it huge list of forward orders from various categories of consumers both locally and overseas. The World Bank report of June 2009 on dimension stone demand in Nigeria shows that total demand stands at 800,000m2.  Out of this, Granite accounts for 500,000m2, and marble accounts for 300,000m2 per annum.

Similarly, powder requirement for the user industries namely Pharmaceutical, Chemical/Paints, Glass and Ceramic is so enormous and it is satisfied 98% through importation.  The Company’s projected output of 34000 tonnes at peak production amounts to less than 1.5 per cent of the overall market. This also means a total lap up of all that it produces.

Most significant is the opportunity for foreign exchange earning given the expression of interest by overseas consumers particularly China and The Netherlands for customized export products.  The Company said it is exploring this offshore dollar ($) denominated opportunity.

With a deposit reserve of 123m3 millions of Calcite marble on a 23 square kilometer field, it is projected that at 20% recovery rate given 15,000m3 per annum, the integrated plant will not only be profitable but will last for over 50 years.

Also as part of its strategic growth initiative aimed at satisfying the over 51% of the local demand for dimension stones with quality products at budget prices, the Company intends to acquire a Granite field to complement and extend existing product lines.  This is scheduled to be consummated by 2011.

In achieving this, the company hopes to leverage on the strong commitment of the Federal Government towards the development of the solid minerals sector through fiscal incentives. The Chairman said efforts will be made to pursue such policies that will convince the Government to protect the Company, through quota limits on importation, thus speeding the growth.

PMMPC was incorporated on July 17, 2002. It has a paid-up capital of N793 million, with total assets of about N1.0 billion. Part of the long term plan is to list the Company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in the next five years closing at 2015. In addition to a very strong Management, the mining operation is headed by an expatriate with long standing experience of over 40 years in mining technology.


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