The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite has revealed that the ongoing energy challenge in Europe occasioned by the Russia-Ukraine War has increased foreign interests in Nigeria’s coal.
He made this known while delivering a lecture “The Mining Sector’s Pivotal Role in the Diversification of the Nigerian Economy” during the annual reunion of the Government College Ibadan Old Boys Association in Gbongan, Osun State.
The minister revealed that the prime minister of Poland had enquired about the country’s coal as an alternative energy source for that country.
Adegbite further disclosed that he had been invited by some Europeans to speak about Nigerian coal. “Nigeria has an abundance of proven and probable reserves of coal. The proven reserve of coal is 639 million metric tonnes while the probable reserve is put at 2.75 billion metric tonnes. Our coal is one of the best in the world and easily convertible to energy. When I came into office coal was considered dirty. However, due to the energy situation in Europe and because winter is coming Nigeria’s coal is attracting a lot of attention from major foreign investors,” he said
Speaking about the nation’s abundant bitumen reserves, Adegbite said the country was on track to develop its bitumen resources and would not need to import bitumen again.
Also, he observed that local bitumen production would save the country foreign exchange spent on importing the mineral while generating income for the government and creating thousands of jobs.
The minister disclosed that the country’s bitumen deposits are ranked sixth in the world in terms of reserves. He further said that the nation was endowed with 42.74 billion metric tonnes of bitumen which have remained unexploited for years. He said that the country was now poised to begin the production of bitumen locally as it had appointed a transaction advisor to oversee the process.
“To ensure that Nigeria’s bitumen resources are fully harnessed for industrial and infrastructural development, I constituted a nine-member Ministerial Bitumen Development Committee on January 31, 2020. The committee carried out an inventory of internal existing infrastructure, compiled available geological information, re-established contact with previous interested companies and developed a framework for transparent allocation of the bitumen resources,” he said.
The minister also revealed that the enormous and abundant mineral resources spread across the country have the potential to make the nation great, while uniting her citizens.
“Several administrations in the past spoke about diversification but paid lip service to the agenda. This present administration, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, put its money where its mouth is by striving to diversify the economy essentially through two sectors – mining and agriculture.
A statement by the minister’s special assistant on media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, said this administration was the first to approve extrabudgetary funds for the sector. “Indeed, mining can unite us as a nation, as there is no state in Nigeria that does not have a mineral resource.”