NGSA team and AG Vision competent person during a site visit in Zamfara State - NIgeria Mining Week
NGSA team and AG Vision competent person during a site visit in Zamfara State - provided by AG Vision

Exclusive interview with Fadi A. Ghazale – Managing Director of AG Vision Mining Ltd., a longstanding partner of Nigeria Mining Week and a gold sponsor of the Digital Event in October.

Fadi A. Ghazale, MD,
AG Vision Mining Ltd.

Let’s start with some background on AG Vision, there is already a proud history there.

AG Vision Mining (AGVM) is a fully diversified mineral exploration and mining consultancy company, operating to JORC standard – covering geology, geophysics, geochemistry, drilling, metallurgy, mine plan and development, engineering, logistics, financing, geotechnical works, government liaison and local community consultation.

Driven by the industry’s positive outlook, AGVM has been expanding its resource base. We currently operate the largest and the most experienced Nigerian based mineral exploration team and have acquired some advanced and exclusive exploration gear.

To name a few, multipurpose drilling rigs (Diamond drilling and reverse circulation), Reflex down the hole survey camera tool, Nigeria’s first electro-magnetic time domain system, ground magnetic equipment, laboratory with XRF capacity in Abuja, etc.

Our team has a broad background in conceptual and systematic targeting of mineralization, from regional scale projects to the planning and implementation of more focused prospect scale targeting projects. In short, we support you all the way from deposit definition to resource drilling, up to the mining stage.

Any exciting projects mining projects that you are involved with at the moment that you can share?

AGVM is currently involved in several exploration projects across Nigeria. We are currently targeting Gold, Zinc, Lead, Copper, Nickel, Chrome, Cobalt, Tin, Niobium, Vanadium, Titanium, Zirconium, Tungsten and Platinum Group Elements (PGE).

Our current flagship project is a Zinc, Lead, Copper project in Nasarawa state. We are under a joint venture with a Nigerian based, but globally experienced company that has secured several exploration licenses covering wide areas in the state.

So far, we have collected more than 10,000 soil samples, mapped thousands of kilometres, and acquired geophysical data on an exceptionally large chunk of ground. Most importantly, we executed 4 phases of drilling combining more than 6,500 meters of RC drilling with a number of strong intersections up to 35% zinc, 11% Lead and 1,2% Copper.

Currently, we are expecting the final analysis on the last drilling phase and planning a subsequent RC and Diamond drilling campaign that will commence in the next couple of weeks. In parallel, we also have another JV with a Gold mining company and are exploring on several gold assets in Niger state. Although it is still early days, the prospects are highly promising.   

For almost 18 months now, we have been involved with MMSD and NGSA in the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) in the western part of the country. We are undertaking the works program for lot A1 that includes two target programs: vein gold and base metals association, and PGE-Ni-Cr-Co mineralisation.

The primary deliverables will include the definition of several defined high-level exploration targets with the aim to advance a number of deposit targets to at least a preliminary resource stage. Currently the program is at advanced stages with the drilling campaign of 9000meters at 80% completion.    

Lastly, we are exploring over an area of approximately 600 km2 for potential Tin, Niobium, Vanadium, Titanium, Zirconium among other minerals between Kaduna and Plateau states.

This project is also at an early stage, however, we have identified several promising targets and that are currently undergoing a regional pitting program. Stay tuned for more information.

Exciting times for us and for the Nigerian mining industry as a whole.

Has COVID-19 affected these operations?

We have been observing strict COVID-19 protocols across all our operations. The Federal Government has supported us throughout this stage, and in view of such support our operations have not been affected. In fact, our exploration activities have not ceased for a singly day during the lockdown as we had clear instructions that the government relied heavily on us to keep doing what we do best.

Nigeria is on the verge of diversifying from oil, and solid minerals is key for such a vision.

Any other lessons you have learnt in the course of this pandemic?

Nigeria has learned that relying on oil is not sustainable anymore. Who imagined that crude would go as low as we have seen and I think it was a reality check to all of us. The pandemic has brought solid minerals to the forefront of public interest.

Your view of Nigeria as a mining investment destination?
Prior to the commencement of the NIMEP project, most information relied on some smaller scale and artisanal mineral extraction in a variety of metals. Such activities are generally rudimentary and undertaken purely on the basis of visual identification of attractive lithologies, with little or no understanding of the wider geological context.

The NIMEP findings so far are acting as a catalyst in providing a large pool of geoscientific data that can warrant the mineral economic potential of Nigeria while highlighting specific mineral provinces that increase the probability of economic mineral occurrences.

In other terms, Nigeria’s outlook for the solid minerals industry is changing the perception of the international community by seeing Nigeria as the next mining destination.

The fact today is that Nigeria’s mineral roadmap will come to fruition in the near future, and what is fueling the interest of foreign investors can be directly related to the global standard the NIMEP project is employing in showcasing the nation’s mineral potentials.   

You are a longstanding partner of the event, what has been the value of your association in your view?

Showcasing to the world Nigeria’s endowment in solid minerals. We want the local companies to know about our services and the global juniors to know that the Nigerian market already entails highly renowned exploration companies with an access to globally recognized experts. Our team can sign up to a JORC level, something Nigeria was lacking in the past. 

Why the decision to join us as a gold sponsor for Nigeria Mining Week the Digital Event in October?

We believe that many corporations and CEOs with interest in Nigeria solid minerals that were not able to visit Nigeria in the past, will now have the opportunity to get a glimpse of the development of Africa’s biggest economy.

What will be your message at the event?

I want to encourage our audience in general and Nigerians in particular, to play a supportive role for the current administration in its genuine quest to enable Nigeria’s mineral potential. Mining is an incremental process and it is only through sustainable steps that the Nigerian flag will be placed on the international mining map. 

All project photographs and captions provided by AG Vision:

Aerial view of drill rig setup in Nasarawa Sate - provided by AG Vision

Aerial view of drill rig setup in Nasarawa State.

Aerial view showing several equipment in the drilling and trenching site at Niger State - provided by AG Vision

Aerial view showing several equipment in the drilling and trenching site in Niger State.

AG Vision competent person and principal geologist inspecting the rock formation in Zamfara State - provided by AG Vision

AG Vision competent person and principal geologist inspecting the rock formation in Zamfara State.

AG Vision drill crew drilling some deep RC holes in Nasarawa Sate - provided by AG Vision.

AG Vision drill crew drilling some deep RC holes in Nasarawa State.

AG Vision drill crew running some rig maintenance - provided by AG Vision.

AG Vision drill crew running some rig maintenance.

AG Vision fully owned equipment working simultaneously on a trenching and drilling site in Niger State - provided by AG Vision

AG Vision fully owned equipment working simultaneously on a trenching and drilling site in Niger State.

AG Vision geologists logging and sampling a trench in Kebbi Sate - provided by AG Vision

AG Vision geologists logging and sampling a trench in Kebbi State.

AG Vision Mining drill crew during night shift in Nasarawa State.

AG Vision Mining drill crew during night shift in Nasarawa State.

Locals of Niger State inspecting the drilling site - provided by AG Vision

Locals of Niger State inspecting the drilling site.

Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling rods ready to be loaded into the rotary head - provided by AG Vision.

Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling rods ready to be loaded into the rotary head.

Reverse circulation (RC) rock chips being logged using a chip tray - provided by AG Vision.

Reverse circulation (RC) rock chips being logged using a chip tray.

Silhouette image of a geologist checking sample rock chips - provided by AG Vision

Silhouette image of a geologist checking sample rock chips.

Tagging and arranging sample bags serially during an ongoing drilling campaign in Niger State - provided by AG Vision

Tagging and arranging sample bags serially during an ongoing drilling campaign in Niger State.