Malam Mohammad Amate, the Director-General, Nigerian Cadastre Office, Abuja, on Sunday, said four foreign companies would begin mining of gold and iron ore in the country this year.
Amate made the disclosure in an interview in Abuja.
He said the mining activities of the companies would be carried out in Kebbi, Osun and Kogi states.
He added that Mines Geotechniques Nig. Ltd., an Australian firm, and Northern Numero Resources Ltd. from the UK were granted licences to mine gold in Kebbi.
The director-general said two other Australian companies; Segilola Nigeria Ltd. and KCM Mining Ltd. would mine gold in Osun and iron ore in Kogi, respectively.
The companies had completed exploration programmes in areas approved for them and they would commence actual mining this year, he noted.
He explained that KCM Mining Ltd., which started exploration activities about four years ago in Kogi, completed the exercise last year and had delineated about 500 million tonnes of iron ore.
Segilola Nigeria Ltd., also an Australian company, would operate in Osun, and had concluded exploration programmes and had delineated more than one million ounces of gold there.
The director-general said the four firms that would commence mining activities this year were among 20 foreign companies granted mining exploration licences by the Federal Government.
Aside from Australia, he said, other firms from Canada, UK, Italy, China, Niger, India, South Africa and Ukraine had indicated intention to mine mineral resources in Nigeria, noting that some of the firms were at various levels of exploration.
“The companies have to conduct exploration first before mining to ensure that the area is rich in minerals or not and to know the types of minerals therein”, he explained.
Amate said the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development had put necessary policies in place to encourage investment in the solid minerals sector.
He added that investors had started showing interest in the sector, with most of them coming from outside the country.
“You can see the number of foreign companies that are coming to take exploration licences and have even carried out exploration programmes.
“We are now getting foreign mining companies that are coming to invest in Nigeria and it is a good thing for the industry.
“Mining is a major sector that employs a lot of labour and with the coming of the mining companies, many Nigerians will be employed”.
He, however, added that “we insist that any company that wants to pick up a licence must employ qualified Nigerians and the companies are complying”.
He said Nigeria was the only country in Africa that had 100 per cent geological data generated through airborne geophysical survey, which was done through sustainable management of mineral resources programmes. (NAN)