Canada-listed junior miner Thor Explorations (TSX-V:THX) has decided to move forward with its Segilola project in Nigeria, poised to become the country’s first large-scale gold mine, as it has secured all the funding needed for the $98-million project.
The company noted construction work will follow covid-19 procedures set out by the Osun state government and the country’s Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
Thor said the financing package totalled about $104.5 million, coming mostly from long-term investor the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC). The institution will contribute $54 million in a senior secured credit facility and further $21 million through a stream agreement.
President and chief operating officer Segun Lawson said closing the financings would mark the company’s “most significant milestone to date.”
The Vancouver-based company, which expects to produce first gold at Segilola in the second quarter of 2021, is already planning an underground extension.
The new section would have an initial mine life of three years and could be brought on during the open-pit mine life to supplement production.
The project would require a $13 million-investment and could produce 33,000 ounces of gold annually, Thor said last year.
Thor Explorations acquired Segilola, located about 120km from Lagos, in August 2016 and renewed the project’s mining license for 25 years in November 2016.
The company first captured the attention of the mining and investment community in February 2018, when it won the Investing in African Mining Indaba’s Battlefield competition. The award recognized it as the most promising emerging mining company, out of 22 other juniors who participated in the contest.
The miner is also working on two other projects: Douta, in south-east Senegal, and Houndé, in western Burkina Faso.
Nigeria, Africa’s top crude oil producer, is trying to diversify its economy by developing other industries, such as mining, through various incentives.