Construction of the first commercial gold mine in Nigeria has begun in Osun State. This is after the Minister of Mines and Steel Development Olamilekan Adegbite laid the first stone on 19th March for the construction of the Segilola Gold Mine in the communities of Odo-Ijesha and Iperindo.
According to the minister, the facility which will commence production of gold in 2021 demonstrates the federal governments’ desire to make the mining sector the mainstay of the country’s economy. “This venture is a pioneering project in the Nigerian mining sector and the federal government is committed to supporting companies in the sector,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Secretary to the state government, Oluwole Oyebamiji who was representing the State governor, said Osun state is an ally in this project while promising to all the support needed to see it to fruition.
The first of its kind in Nigeria
On the other hand, Thor Explorations Managing Director, Segun Lawson said that the project was the first of its kind in Nigeria which would deliver the country’s only large scale commercial gold mine. “The mine would provide over 1,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians; provide an additional stream of non-oil revenue and stimulate the inflow of foreign direct investment into the country’s mining sector,” he affirmed.
The EPC Contract for the project was awarded to Norninco International Ltd which was majorly financed by Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) with an investment sum of US $78m. The project is expected to commence gold production in early 2021 which. Upon completion, the company would process 650,000 tonnes of ore, with a target production of approximately 80,000 ounces per year.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer has huge untapped deposits of metals such as iron ore, gold, zinc, and lead but almost all extraction is done on a small-scale and manual basis. Such subsistence players hardly pay any revenue to the government.