Ilesa, Nigeria — Nigeria is looking to revive the moribund mining sector as it seeks to diversify revenues following the 2014 crash in global crude prices. The country’s focus on oil has meant gold has been ignored for decades. But locals have always known that a vast deposit of gold sits underneath the jungle of Osun state. A few companies are now venturing into the sector, hoping to repeat the success of mining in Ghana, Senegal and Sierra Leone. On a humid morning, Segun Lawson, CEO of Thor Explorations, leads a site visit of his proposed mine. "No one has a clue about mining in Nigeria," says Lawson. The government mined the vein in the 1980s, "but oil was so prolific they just left it", he says. "The gold runs 210m deep," he says, rattling off statistics to the group of investors. Lawson hopes to start production at Nigeria’s first large-scale gold mine in 2020. "This is the low-hanging fruit. This is a small gold province that no one has explored with modern technology," he sa...

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