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At the signing ceremony in Abuja, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Mohammed Sada, said the contract would entail the development of Mining Lease 21 (ML21) located in Yauri, Kebbi State.
Under the contract, NNR will procure a small scale gold mining and processing plant that would be expanded as more reserves were established.
Sada said NNR had pledged to invest $5m in the project,in the first instance, for the procurement of small scale gold mining and processing plant for the gold extraction.
According to Sada, the company has also committed to give 10 per cent carried interest to the Nigerian Government and another five per cent carried interest to the local community.
In addition to the carried interest, the Australian company will pay royalties, taxes, amongst others to the Nigerian Government as stipulated in the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, and its Regulations, 2011, as well as the Community Development Agreement, which the company is expected to sign with the host community.
Listing the social and economic benefits to the Yauri community, Sada explained that ML21 happened to be one of the mineral titles of Nigerian Mining Corporation, which had carried out some exploration activities in this area, including core drilling before its closure in 2005.
He said an attempt to privatise this title during the 2007 privatisation exercise by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) was not successful, as efforts to get committed investors to take it up for development were not successful.
Sada said: “Efforts made thereafter to get serious-minded investors to take it up for development were also not successful. It therefore gladdens me to see that NNR has come forward with an ambitious plan to develop this title.”
The minister stated that the company has pledged its commitment to extracting gold using environmentally friendly mining techniques.
“This commitment of NNR, I believe, will transform the economic activity of its host community, Yauri, as well as formally put Nigeria into the global map of gold producers in no distant time,” he added.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of the Board of NNR, Dr. Stephen Davis, noted that President Goodluck Jonathan’s initiative to push the solid minerals sector forward has given new impetus to exploration companies and brought Nigeria to the attention of the global mining sector.
“The Kebbi State project is moving forward with bulk sampling commencing this month in preparation for full scale mining operations next dry season, made possible by the support of the Governor of Kebbi State, Usman Saidul Dankingari,” he said.
The Governor, on his part, said the issue of exploration of gold in Kebbi State had a long history.
“I am made to understand that the gold in Kebbi state is one of the best in the world,” he said, adding that the government and the good people of Kebbi State will give all the needed support both to the ministry and the NNR.
Posted by Hope for Nigeria