As British mining giant set to invest over $100m

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, Monday, said success stories recorded in the Ministry now attract more investors locally and internationally.

Adegbite made the statement while responding to the delegation led by the Director, Aurelia Mining Company Limited, United Kingdom, Julian Hammond, on a courtesy visit to his office at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

He said the Federal Government through the Ministry is doing a whole lot to record more success stories in the nation’s mining industry to woo more investors as it promotes the sector within and abroad.

He said: “The whole essence of this is to promote the industry in Nigeria. We have a success case in Nigeria. The more success stories we have the better for us because others will become convinced.

“In the next couple of weeks, we will start gold production from Illesha but was a little bit delayed because of COVID-19. The more the merrier, and this success story will attract more investors then Nigeria will become a mining destination as we want it to be. I hope to have more of this success story and we expect success from this group.

 “We all know about Segilola gold is also in Nigeria, is actually a Canadian company into exploration and they are quoted on the Toronto Exchange, and recently in the last three weeks quoted in the London Exchange as well, and that is a success story in Nigeria.

“But the whole essence is to go out there and to convince more investors to come to Nigeria and do mining. The government is spending so much money, and we have a project called the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project, NIMEP, the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, NGSA, is doing exploration, Nigeria’s gold is one of them, and apart from data and the was the same data I met as Honourable Minister in 2019, and we took out before the pandemic started in 2020. I was in South Africa, London, Toronto, and of course with all these we are still able to convince investors; look Nigeria is a place to come to.”

He further made his guests know that “Nigeria was known for solid minerals before the discovery of oil and gas, because of the ease of drilling oil and gas and that made it easier for the country to develop the oil and gas industry, which is why we shifted focus away from mining without realizing that we need to do both.

“We have the minerals and this is the time to develop them and as an encouragement, this is the right thing to do to come into Nigeria to put up this project.

Earlier speaking, the leader of the delegation, Julian Hammond, described the Minister as ‘Great Ambassador’ of the minerals sector in Nigeria based on his effort to put the nation’s minerals sector on an enviable height in the international market.

He says it is important for diversification in his country and the Minister in his interviews he sees it as very important for indigenous Nigerians who have been abroad to come back to Nigeria and break investments for projects to push those projects forward for the benefit of the country.

Hammond said: “Nigeria is becoming a powerhouse in gold production in Western Africa. We also see Nigeria becoming the powerhouse in Western Africa. I also see him aspiring to diversify in oil and gas in Nigeria, and he sees minerals as his way of diversifying.

I believe Aurelia Mining Company Limited is such a company with its major partner here who is a Nigerian based in the UK and he is come back to do business in his home country because he sees the potential of this country. We see a lot of potential in gold exploration.”

According to him his company has been in the oil and gas industry but deemed it fit that the time is now for the mineral industry in Nigeria to really take off.

Speaking on the project they became partners as they put data together and follow the exact path they expect as investors in the west safari, and it is a very strong platform we can move forward with the development of signing the gold project.

“We see our project potentially and I have learnt over the years to under-promise and over-deliver that we see the potential for this project to be up to the scale of the full project not today but as a very solid base have been discovered but also to be very exciting appraisal which we believe to carry this resource it has to be increased”, he said.

According to him, they have steps they follow and they are methodical in doing things, which the first thing they are doing is getting MIL 43 101 resource report and then competent person.

“This gives our investors the confidence to invest funds for the next phase of development.

“Then what we are going to be looking at doing some drilling to increase the resource that we expect to have and to get later the certainity on the resource. We recognize that the local community will like to see production as soon as possible.

“So we will like to begin a preliminary production plan as soon we can so that in parallel without appraisal and assessment of the deposit we are getting some early production. It also gives us viable information on the appraisal side of things as well.

“We are only on assessment of the project, but what I envision initially is if we start is going to be a small investment of $5-10 million investment but as we begin the full mining operation and if the deposits are as big as we put them going to be talking about $50-$100 million for a period of 10-15 years.

“But again we are at an early stage we need an assessment and appraisal to get a better idea after we have done that work. The period of the appraisal is going to three to six months. We are going to hit the ground running.

“We have been received with open arms and confidence to go back to the United Kingdom and I will be going to Canada soon and talk to our investors that where to invest in this industry in West Africa is in Nigeria”, he stated.

He also made it known that his company is talking with local geologists in Nigeria, and their potential is amazing as they work with state geologist departments for basic data on resources that would also attract investors.

He added that despite the fall in gold prices investors are still interested to invest in gold. He also stated that with the minister’s commitment and effort to galvanise the sector, investors who were hesitant would come in because Nigerian needs more investors to come whether small or big and also promised to work with the Ministry.

Meanwhile, his (Hammond) major partner, Director, Natural Resources Advisors, Wole Modupe Fagbulu, said, “We were in London promoting Nigeria as a mineral base. Investors like to hear that but at the same time they’re is supposed to be a connection between investors and countries, and the Minister has established that.

“I have met with him and he has explained what they are doing and with that, I have been able to convince my partner here. This is the right place to be. I am a Nigerian and what I am doing in other countries why can’t I do the same in my country?”

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