Nigeria welcomes more investment in mining industry: official

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A man's hand touches broken rock near a group of ore rock tunnels, mined for ore rock, approximately 2 kilometers from the village of Dareta, in northern Nigeria, on Sunday, Dec. 5. 2010. At least 284 children under the age of five have died from lead poisoning in eight villages in Nigeria's Zamfara state as a result of small-scale gold mining, according to government officials. Photographer: Shawn Baldwin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nigeria is welcoming greater foreign investment in its mining industry to help it thrive, Minister of Mines and Steel Development Olamilekan Adegbite said in Abuja on Monday.

“The federal government has done lots of exploration on gold and other minerals to acquire data, making Nigeria a mining destination,” the minister said while greeting a delegation of British firm Aurelia Mining Ltd., adding that the partnership with Aurelia was a result of such efforts.

The delegation said their company is preparing to invest up to 100 million U.S. dollars in gold mining in Nigeria.

Julian Hammond, director of Aurelia Mining, told the minister that the company will start by doing a test drill to assess the amount of gold available.

“The company will commence a small mining operation with five to 10 million dollars first,” and if the gold deposit is as big as expected, the company will invest about 100 million dollars for a period of 10 to 15 years, he said.

Nigeria, the biggest oil producer in Africa, is also endowed with abundant other minerals including gold, iron, limestone, lead, zinc and coal, according to the ministry.

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