Thor Explorations (TSXV: THX) is moving forward with its Segilola project in Nigeria after securing a US$98-million financing.
Once completed, Segilola, located 120 km from Lagos, will become the country’s first large-scale gold mine.
Thor said the financing package totalled US$104.5 million, coming mostly from long-term investor Africa Finance Corporation (AFC). The institution will contribute US$54 million in a senior secured credit facility and a further US$21 million through a streaming agreement.
President and chief operating officer Segun Lawson said closing the financings would mark the company’s “most significant milestone to date.”
The Vancouver-based company also noted construction work will follow COVID-19 procedures set out by the country’s Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the Osun state government.
Thor expects to produce first gold at Segilola in the second quarter of 2021, and is already planning an underground extension.
The new section would have an initial mine life of three years and could be brought on during the open-pit mine life to supplement production.
Last year, Thor said the project would require a US$13-million investment and could produce 33,000 oz. gold annually.
Thor acquired Segilola in August 2016 and renewed the project’s mining license for 25 years in November 2016.
The company first captured the attention of the mining and investment community in February 2018, when it won the Investing in African Mining Indaba’s Battlefield competition. The award recognized it as the most promising emerging mining company out of 22 other juniors who participated in the contest.
The miner is also working on two other projects: Douta, in south-east Senegal, and Houndé, in western Burkina Faso.
Nigeria, Africa’s top crude oil producer, is trying to diversify its economy by developing other industries, such as mining, through various incentives.