Mining: Firm challenges govt on port facilities

The Chief Executive Officer, Symbol Mining, Tim Wither, has said port facilities are affecting the mining sector’s development. He advised the government to improve them.

He said the speed with which products could pass through the port had great impact on the economic viability and companies’ ability to develop projects.

He said with the Free Trade Zones (FTZ) and other infrastructure upgrades within the Lagos ports, there was optimism that these improvements would have a great impact in developing the resource industry.

Wither spoke with The Nation on the forthcoming Nigeria Mining Week scheduled to take place in October in Abuja. He said because the industry as in its infancy, a lot of the technical skills are sourced from outside the country, particularly mining engineers and exploration geologists.

He, however, expressed the commitment of the company to grow these capabilities in-house by training and educating people from the local communities. This, he noted, would support the aggressive exploration and growth strategies and help expand the industry.

Symbol mining, he said, is an Australian publicly listed company, which started mining recently at the high-grade zinc and lead Imperial Joint Venture project in Bauchi State. The company, according to him, has been working in Nigeria since 2012, and brings international technical, marketing and financial expertise for the commercialisation of the mining and exploration projects.

The company, he said, has two local joint venture projects, Tawny in Nasarawa State and Imperial in Bauchi State, with total tenements spanning over 500km. According to him, in the last six years, the company has completed over 12,000m of exploration drilling and released a maiden Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) compliant Resource of 132,700t at 18.3per cent Zn (zinc) and 2.1per cent Pb (lead) for the Macy Deposit located at the Imperial project.

‘’Our maiden resource demonstrated a mineralisation zone of high-grade zinc and lead. The subsequent completion of the Macy Deposit scoping study confirmed the economic viability for high-grade direct shipment ore (DSO) to both Chinese and European smelters. The firm’s marketing plan is to develop a high-quality product brand, selling directly to smelters through established offtake partnerships,’’ he assured.

The company’s strategy is to generate early cashflow from open pit mining at the Macy Deposit, which will facilitate further exploration activities at Imperial and Tawny, and potentially expand our resource base to grow the Company. Central to our future success, is the support of the local community and development of a skilled workforce. Our core values include respect and acceptance from the local communities in which we operate, and this is only achieved by open and honest conversations.

‘’We communicate information on the project and listen to any challenges faced by the community. We are also focused on building a skilled local workforce and creating a framework for them to develop and learn a range of skills in a controlled and supportive environment, we would like to be the employer of choice for the mining industry in Nigeria,’’ he added.

In the next five years, we will spend a considerable amount of efforts in training and up-skilling our team, so they can then manage and grow our future projects, this will in turn benefit the mining community.

‘’We want local communities to benefit from the growth of the mining industry. One of the strongest principles within the Nigerian Mining Code is the mandatory Community Development Agreement (CDA), something which other more established mining jurisdictions,‘’ he said

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