Mining Reboot: Thor Explorations to Build Nigeria’s First Large-Scale Gold Mine

Nigeria has been seeking to reduce its reliance on oil and gas for a while and the dream may soon be realised, as two companies, Thor Explorations and Kogi Iron, seek to reboot the country's mining industry.

(Image: Optimarc / Shutterstock)


Nigeria has been seeking to reduce its reliance on oil and gas for a while and the dream may soon be realised. Thor Explorations, a Canadian-listed company, aims to build a large-scale gold mine, whilst Australian-led Kogi Iron also aims to build a steel plant using local iron ore and coal from Nigeria.

Chief Executive Officer of Thor Explorations, Segun Lawson, said in an interview with Reuters: “Thor is currently developing the country’s most advanced gold mine.”

Thor Explorations owns a gold exploration licence in Osun State and has set up a mining operation known as the Segilola Gold Project, for which Lawson, is considering his options for raising $72 million to get the mine into production.

The plan as it stands is to build a plant capable of processing 500,000 tonnes of ore per year, consisting of the conventional crushing circuit, with grinding, carbon-in-leach, elution, electro-winning, and smelting all combining to produce the standard gold doré.

Lawson said to Reuters that the company is aiming to produce gold in the first quarter of 2020 with probable reserves of up to 500,000 ounces.

For Australian-listed Kogi Iron, the company and its Chief Executive Officer, Martin Wood are looking for investors to provide $350 million for its iron ore mining business in Kogi State, Nigeria. Wood, however, has not put a date on when the company could begin production in the country.

Kogi Iron plans to build a steel plant using local iron ore and coal. The project in land-locked Kogi is not well positioned to export its products, but Wood said it has the infrastructure to sell domestically and could envisage 100 percent profit margins, while reducing the country’s import dependency.

This interest in Nigeria’s underdeveloped mining sector comes at a time when Nigeria’s mining industry is in need of a reboot, as the industry has suffered from neglect due to the attention given to the country’s oil resources.

The oil sector accounts for an estimated 8.7 percent of GDP and is critical for foreign exchange and fiscal revenue. While mining provides only around 0.5 percent of GDP, according to World Bank figures.

Nigeria is built on oil so current investment in local sources of gold offer good prospects for Thor Explorations, as it is the first-mover inside a new and potentially lucrative mining jurisdiction – the sector presents itself with many opportunities.

As the feasibility study of Segilola is underway to fine-tune the economic potential of the Segilola mine, Thor Explorations may soon be snapping up new ground in anticipation of success.

Other minerals in Nigeria’s mining industry that can be also be invested in include, columbite, tantalite, wolframite, bitumen, and uranium.