SX-listed Canadian mineral exploration company Thor Explorations says it has received committee-level approval for $78 million of financing from the Africa Finance Corporation for development of its Segilola gold project, described as the first large-scale commercial gold mine project in Nigeria. Finalisation of the deal with AFC will be subject to documentary approvals and other conditions. Thor will also need to raise a further $18 million to proceed with the Segilola project, designed to produce 80,000 oz/year over a five-year mine life, Segun Lawson, Thor CEO, said in an interview with S&P Global Platts. The company will seek to raise the $18 million, probably in equity, over the next 10 weeks, and is holding “conversations with various parties,” including mining and institutional investors in North America and London, he said. With the preliminary economic assessment study completed in February, construction at Segilola, located 120 km from Lagos, is expected to start in this quarter, and last 18 months. Thor plans to put out tenders within the next three months for mining services and has a shortlist of contractors, including some from Nigeria, Ghana and Mali, Lawson said. The plant and infrastructure will be provided on a turnkey basis by China’s Norinco. Gold production in the open-pit mine is expected to start in H2 2020 with an expected cash cost of $662/oz, “in the bottom quartile of global costs,” as much of the high-grade ore can be recovered by gravity processes alone, according to Segun. After the initial five years of open-pit mine life, the plan is to undertake underground mining at the site, he said. AFC will be the main offtaker of the production.

The National Insurance Commission may soon increase the capital base of insurance firms to about ₦15 billion. Industry sources said that NAICOM may mandate insurance firms to recapitalise or merge in order to meet the new capital requirement. At the moment, the minimum capital requirement of life insurance firms is ₦2 billion, non-life ₦3billion and composite, ₦5 billion. The recapitalisation, unlike the optional window introduced by the commission through the Tier-Based Minimum Solvency Capital policy, which was rejected by the operators and later withdrawn by NAICOM, will be made compulsory. The commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, had noted, before the cancellation of the TBMSC, that there was a need for insurance firms to recapitalise. He said the industry witnessed the last recapitalisation between 2005 and 2007 and that since then, the operating environment had witnessed series of turbulence and uncertainties. The 2008 global financial crisis hit the sector with heavy consequences on insurers.

Diamond Stripes Consortium, Transcorp Power Consortium, and Unicorn Consortium to proceed to the financial bids opening stage for the acquisition of the Afam Electricity Generation Company. This follows approval by the National Council on Privatisation after its first meeting for 2019, in which Council noted that the consortia met the benchmark score of 750 points after evaluation in accordance with the criteria set out in the RFPs. The Council also approved that Quest Electric proceeds to the financial bids opening stage for the re-privatisation of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company. Although YEDC was successfully privatised and handed over to the core investor in 2013, a force majeure was declared in 2015 by the core investor, citing insecurity in the North-East region of the country. Consequently, the DisCo was duly repossessed by the FG. Under the terms, it is expected that the successful bidders will be responsible for operating the GenCo and DisCo, making the necessary investments to improve the generation and distribution networks, and improving customer service in line with the FG’s objectives under the National Electric Power Policy.

The NNPC says that the national average daily crude oil production stood at about 2.019 million barrels in 2018. NNPC GMD, Maikanti Baru, said the volume of crude produced translated to an increase of 9 percent above the 2017 average of 1.86 million barrels. According to him, it is a significant improvement from the unimpressive production level recorded on assumption of office in July, 2016. “To underline this, the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) in 2018 posted a production growth of 52 per cent compared to 2017 (i.e from an average of 108kbod in 2017 to 165kbod in 2018),” he said. A total of 1.2 billion litres was sold in 2018 as against 1.1 billion litres in 2017, representing seven percent increase. On Joint Venture cash, Baru said the corporation negotiated settlement of the Pre-2016 JV Cash Call Arrears and also championed indigenous cash exit/JV self-funding mechanism.