Govt pledges support for mining firms implementing local content

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The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, has expressed the commitment of the federal government to support mining companies that place a premium on local content in their operations.

Speaking during a site tour of the Segilola Resources Operating Limited, an indigenous gold mining company in Ilesha, Osun State, the minister lauded the extensive work that has gone into the facility, expressing delight that over 95 per cent of its staff are Nigerians, urging other operators to take a cue from them.

He advised mining companies to emulate the international best practices of the Segilola gold project to develop the sector.

Commending the high Nigerian component of the project, Alake remarked that the firm had applied local content in its procurement and employment policies.

According to the statement signed by the minister’s special assistant on media on Friday in Abuja, the minister also praised the company’s tenacity of purpose and efficient methods deployed to push through with its vision, despite daunting challenges at inception.

Stressing that his focus has been to redirect local and international attention to the mining sector, Alake revealed that the implementation of his 7-point agenda is to reposition the mining sector.

“I have made sanitising the security of the mining environment one of the critical points of my 7-point agenda. Recently, as part of the process of actualising that policy, I had to unveil the creation of a mines marshal. They have a base in all the states of the country.

Emphasising the imperative of a harmonious relationship with host communities, Alake lauded SROL for overshooting its community development targets, urging mining companies across the country to follow suit to ensure a safer, unfettered operating environment which will culminate in maximum beneficiation for both operators, the host communities and government.

At different fora, the Solid Mineral minister has reiterated the importance of value addition as the new indispensable standard for mining operations in the country.

While taking steps to drive investments in the sector, Alake has also warned that no mining license would be issued to prospective investors without requisite plans for value addition on minerals.

In his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Segilola Resources, Segun Lawson, stated that the company is a world-class project powered by Nigerians, appealing for support from the Federal Government to enable it to scale up and contribute better to the economy of the country.

Presenting the achievements of the company to the Minister, officials said the company operates an open pit system involving drilling and blasting, hauling and loading the rocks before processing into gold.

Last year, it produced 84,609 ounces (2,398.6 kilogrammes) of gold amounting to $194.4m at current prices. Despite this income, the company currently lists among the 107 companies enjoying tax exemption.

The managing director said the company spent N29bn on local procurement and has a 1,993 workforce with 98 per cent local employees.

According to them, Segilola has paid $ 4.3 million in compensation to date and spent N1bn on 25 community projects, which benefitted 11,112 indigenes, 135 fish and vegetable farmers, and 4,479 community members.

They told the minister that the firm has recycled 1.27 metric tonnes of waste and its safety measures have achieved zero environmental incidents.

The minister, in his response, pledged the support of the Federal Government for SROL, particularly because it promotes local content and positively impacts the host community with developmental projects.

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