Chris McQuillan, Mining Director at PW Nigeria, a returning gold sponsor at the upcoming Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja from 26-28 October.
Chris McQuillan, Mining Director,
Let’s start with some background on PW Nigeria, your activities and your aims for the Nigerian mining sector?
PW Nigeria Ltd (PWN) has worked continuously in Nigeria since 1974 on major civil engineering projects. In this time, we have moved 55 million m3 in bulk earthworks projects, constructed 2 000 km of roads and constructed some of Nigeria’s premier bridges. In 2015, we started a diversification process which would integrate mining into our core competencies. We are currently the mining contractor of choice with Imperial JV and Lafarge Holcim in Nigeria.
Any specific exciting projects that you are involved in at the moment that you can share?
PWN have secured an initial investment from a consortium of Irish-Canadian mining investors on three gold targets in Niger state. The investment will be used for further exploration of these targets in the form of geo-chemistry, aero magnetics, reverse circulation drilling, diamond drilling and fire assays.
PWN currently holds the Lafarge Ashaka overburden project which sees the extraction of 3.2 m BCM of overburden annually.
PWN also hold the Lafarge Ewekoro quarry project which oversees removal of 500 000 BCM of overburden to expose limestone, the drill and blast, load and haul and ROM refeed of 3.5 m tonnes of limestone annually.
Watch: Is Nigeria’s mining industry ready for investment?
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your operations so far?
The pandemic has compelled us to close many of our operations due the obvious health and safety issues and help the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
These closures have been done in a strategic manner to best allow our clients to implement their own policies and closure processes.
We hope to be able to return and recommence these projects at the earliest opportunity and are in constant liaison with our clients.
At the moment the situation is very fluid but due to our size and flexibility we can react very quickly to unforeseen changes.
How excited are you about the opportunities in Nigeria’s mining sector?
It is difficult not to get excited by the opportunities that exist in Nigeria’s mining sector which remains largely untapped. We recently spent some time in the British geological survey going through mining records for the region that date back to the early 1900s. A lot of enthusiasm existed during this period, we want to reignite this enthusiasm and bring the sector back to life.
Why the decision to partner with Nigeria Mining Week again? How important is this event for the industry?
Nigeria Mining Week is the premier mining event in the country. The show continues to grow and attract the right attendees. The more good news the Nigerian mining sector puts out, the better and this is the right forum to do that.
What will be PW Nigeria’s message at Nigeria Mining Week this year?
Nigeria’s mining sector is open for business and PWN is an established, highly reputable company that can provide the full spectrum of services investors will be looking for.
The majority shareholding in PWN was recently acquired by the BUA group on 23 March 2020. How does this benefit the company?
The BUA group is one of the largest groups on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and is a perfect fit for PWN with its strong capital base, quarrying possibilities and its commitment to improve infrastructure in Nigeria. With their help and support PWN will be able to advance its mining portfolio.