A Canadian company, Thor Explorations Limited has renewed interest in boosting Nigeria’s efforts to persuade investors that it could become a mining destination for metals in West Africa.
While gold miners face the death of new discoveries across the globe, the Vancouver-based firm, which is listed on Toronto Stock Exchange, is interested in joining a rush for the commodity in Africa, seeing Nigeria as a new frontier.
What it means
The most populous nation in Africa could be on the cusp of getting its first industrial-scale gold mine from Thor that is developing a project capable of producing 80,000 ounces per year in Osun State, Nigeria targeting to start operations early 2021.
Also, Africa Finance Corporation, which is backed by the Central Bank of Nigeria and a group of local banks, is investing in the Thor project through a $78 million debt-equity financing package.
Head, Natural Resources, AFC, Osam Iyahem, said, “The project, which is low-hanging fruit, would prove to the Nigerian government and the international financing community that mining can be a viable proposition in Nigeria.”
Chief Executive Officer, Thor Exploration, Segun Lawson, disclosed that Nigeria’s reputation poses a major obstacle for traditional mining financiers.
He said, “When I presented this project, it was very difficult to even get meetings with investors, let alone convince them to put money in it. Nigeria is not a known mining jurisdiction.”
Where Nigeria stands
Mining made up between 4% and 5% of Nigeria’s gross domestic product in the 1960s and 1970s before foreign operators left the country and oil dominated the government’s agenda for obvious reasons. Now, metal ores account for less than 0.1%, while crude exploration makes up 8% to 10% of GDP and brings in 90% of export earnings.
Call for law reform
Experts have called on the government to reform its laws to encourage investors to carry out exploration throughout the country as witnessed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia in the early 2000s.
A mining analyst at South Africa-based Mergence Corporate Solutions, Peter Major, said, “After both countries dramatically altered their legislation, mining and exploration investment exploded.”
Going forward: However, the Federal Government has promised to increase mining’s contribution to GDP to 3% by 2025.
Minister of Mines and steel development, Olamilekan Adegbite, explained that the government is building a databank to provide easy access to prospective investors on potential areas to target for exploration and has also put in place incentives, including a tax holiday of as long as five years for projects entering production and the removal of import duties on mining equipment.
He said, “As gold producers and prospectors are pouring money into the region, larger mines than Thor’s have either recently commenced production or are scheduled to do so early next decade in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Ghana. The share of exploration investment that Nigeria has so far attracted is “abysmally low.
“Africa’s largest oil producer has sizeable untapped deposits of metals including iron ore, gold, zinc and lead but almost all extraction is done on a small-scale or manual basis. These are people who hardly pay any revenue to government.”
Thor Explorations Limited is a gold exploration company with a focus on early-stage gold exploration projects located in highly prospective underexplored regions of West Africa.
Thor Explorations (“Thor”) aims to increase its shareholder value through the development of its prospective exploration and development portfolio which were acquired through a continued selection of high-quality projects.
Focusing on West Africa, Thor evaluates existing and under-explored highly prospective geological regions of West Africa, seeking to access opportunities early on in the exploration value chain.
Thor trades on the TSX Venture Exchange (Toronto Stock Exchange) under the symbol “THX”.
Only 68.8% of Nigerians believe Covid-19 is real – SBM Intel
The survey revealed that 68.8% of Nigerians believe Corona is real, 14.4% are not sure while 16.7% don’t believe it’s real.
As the country and indeed, the rest of the world continues to be ravaged by the pandemic, only 68.8% of Nigerians believe Covid-19 is real. While 39.9% of Nigerians say they will take the vaccine, 63.3% are opposed to another lockdown.
These and more details were disclosed by SBM Intel, a geopolitical research and strategic communications consulting firm in its recent Covid-19 report titled, ” Covid in Nigeria: The Second Wave”.
“The age demographics of the correspondents for the survey were chosen across a broad age category., “The majority of the respondents were between 28-40 years (36.7%) followed by those between 18-27 years (24.0%), then 41-55 years (22.2%) which represents the active (working) population. 9.5% of the respondents were older than 55 years, and a smaller percentage, 7.7% were younger than 18 years,” the report revealed.
If Corona is real…
- The survey revealed that 68.8% of Nigerians believe Corona is real, 14.4% are not sure while 16.7% don’t believe it’s real.
- Ekiti, Enugu, Kogi, Nasarawa, and Sokoto states had less than 50% of their respondents stating that the virus is real. These states have relatively low official death rates, Ekiti (7), Enugu (21), Kogi (2), Nasarawa (13) and Sokoto (20) compared to states with high death rates as Lagos (250), the FCT (106) and Edo (117).
An interviewee said: “The virus is real, but does not believe that it is present in Nigeria because people are not dying and they are not observing most of the precautions.”
- The report disclosed that most people of all age categories don’t deny the existence of a virus, however, people who are older than 55 years have the highest percentage of respondents who are unsure of the existence of coronavirus, citing reduced social interactions and smaller circles which keeps them away from contact with infected persons.
If people are taking the right steps to prevent the virus
Despite the fact that over 68% of the respondents believe that the virus is real, 59.5% of the respondents representing a majority of the respondents do not think that people are taking the right measures to prevent COVID-19.
- “More interestingly, in some public institutions like banks and eateries where private security personnel enforces compliance with mask-wearing and hand sanitizing, people tend to comply just because such enforcement serves as an entry ticket. Researchers observed that once many people got into such premises, they took off their masks and started to flout other precautionary measures.
- “Only 39.9% of the respondents said they will take the vaccine. An almost equal proportion of respondents (35.9 %) said they will not take the vaccine which the government announced is to arrive in the country at the end of January, and 24.1% are unsure of their position at the moment.
- Reasons for not wanting to receive the vaccine include mistrust with the government and religious beliefs.
- “Some respondents held that it is a religious war to contaminate the children of God with evil substances. Some believe that the vaccines are a tool to depopulate Nigeria, while others expressed concern about the effectiveness ratio and the side-effects that the vaccine might have,” SBM said.
In case of another lockdown
- 63.3% of Nigerians are opposed to another lockdown. The report cited the number is much lower than the past report which revealed 90.24% were opposed to the idea of another lockdown.
- 15.1% are on the fence on this issue and only 21.6% of the respondents would support another lockdown.
- Opposition to lockdowns was linked to economic and security impacts witnessed during the previous lockdown as the economy contracted to lead to unemployment and increased hardship for Nigerians.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported that the Federal Government said that Nigeria is not contemplating another lockdown and urged Nigerians to ignore social media posts rumouring of the possibility of another lockdown.
- President Muhammadu Buhari already disclosed in October 2020 that the Nigerian economy is too fragile to go into another lockdown.
- Professor Julius Ihonvbere, Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education & Services, said the Federal and States governments should not impose a lockdown, but rather focus on serious control measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
COVID-19: FG to acquire vaccines that need less cooling
The FG has stated that it is in talks with Russia and India to procure vaccines that are less dependent on cooling facilities.
The Nigerian Government says it doesn’t plan to over-invest in Covid-19 vaccines that require extra cold storage and that it will prioritize vaccines that don’t require much cooling.
This was disclosed by Faisal Shuaib, National Primary Health Care Development Agency Chief in a briefing with newsmen on Tuesday reported by Reuters.
“Our plan now is not to over-invest on ultracold equipment for vaccines like that of Pfizer vaccines, but go for vaccines that need less cooling facilities.
“We are currently engaged in talks with Russia and India to get more vaccines,” he said.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported earlier this month that the Federal Government stated that the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) with its partners, is working to fix healthcare value chain roadblocks that may affect the fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
- The FG also disclosed through the NPHCDA its initial distribution plan for vaccines with the highest share of vaccines going to Kano State 3,557; Lagos 3,131; Katsina 2,361; Kaduna 2,074; Bauchi 1,900; Oyo 1,848; Rivers 1,766; Jigawa 1,712; Niger 1,558; Ogun 1,473; Sokoto 1,468; Benue 1,423; Borno 1,416; Anambra 1,379; Zamfara 1,336; Delta 1,306.
Covid-19: Oxygen demand in Lagos State has risen 5 times – Sanwo-Olu
Governor Sanwo-Olu has lamented the rising second wave of the pandemic in Lagos as the demand for oxygen increases by 5 times.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has warned that the rising second wave of the pandemic in Lagos has seen the demand for oxygen rise 5 times from 70 six-litre cylinders per day to 350 six-litre cylinders at Yaba Mainland Hospital alone.
The Governor also urged that all malaria-like symptoms should henceforth be considered as COVID-19 virus infection unless and until proven not to be so.
This was disclosed in a statement released by the Lagos State Government on Tuesday.
“Over the last few weeks, the demands for oxygen has risen from 70 six-litre cylinders per day to 350 six-litre cylinders in our Yaba Mainland Hospital. This is projected to more than double to 750 six-cylinders, before the end of January 2021,” the Governor said.
He added that the State Government has decentralized provision of oxygen and other services needed for Covid-19 patients, citing provision of oxygen kiosks.
“ln addition to providing oxygen at our isolation centres, the Lagos State Government has decentralized the availability of oxygen across the State through the provision of 10 oxygen and sampling kiosks. Oxygen therapy and other related services will be provided to patients that require them.
“Five of these 10 oxygen centers have been commissioned while the remaining five will be ready for use within the next four weeks. It is our expectation that these sampling kiosks would be easily accessible to residents that require oxygen therapy at the level of LGAs as stabilization points prior to onward transmission to our Isolation centres, if required.
“This strategy is to further increase the fighting chance of Lagos residents that have contracted the virus and require immediate oxygen therapy,” he stated.
The Governor said that Lagos is closely monitoring plans by the FG to acquire vaccines and said the State has also resumed discussion with potential manufacturers. He also said the State is building its own regulatory framework for vaccine distribution.
“We are closely monitoring ongoing action by the Federal Government to procure COVID-19 vaccines for use in Nigeria. We have also opened discussions with vaccine manufacturers so that when the vaccine comes eventually we can ensure that Lagosians are catered for.
“In the meantime, we are developing a strategy that will articulate the criteria, guidelines and regulatory framework for providing and monitoring vaccinations in Lagos.
“The Lagos State Government is actively partnering with the private sector in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the areas of testing, oxygen deployment, as well as the clinical management of moderate to severe cases. These partnerships have helped enhance the State’s response to the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic,” Sanwo-Olu added.
What you should know
- The Lagos State Government earlier disclosed that its bed occupancy levels at its public and private COVID-19 care centres increased to 51 per cent.
- The Federal Government also alerted Nigerians that hospitals across the country are running out of facilities to handle more serious cases of coronavirus infections as the virus is spreading fast with mild symptoms in some victims and severe illnesses and death in others.
- Nairametrics recently reported that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, announced the sum of N10 billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight the coronavirus.