The Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development arc Olamilekan Adegbite has revealed that the ongoing energy challenge in Europe ocassioned by the Russian-Ukraine War has increased foreign interests in Nigeria’s coal.
This was contained in a statement signed by Ayodeji Adeyemi, the Special Assistant in charge of Media to the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development in which he said, the minister also disclosed that the prime minister of Poland had made enquiry about the country’s coal as an alternative energy source for the European country.
Adegbite revealed this while delivering a lecture during the 2022 Annual reunion of the old boys association of Government College Ibadan, at Gbongan Osun State, titled “The Mining Sector’s Pivotal Role in the Diversification of the Nigerian Economy”.
Adegbite further disclosed that he had been invited by some Europeans to speak about the Nigerian coal. ‘ Nigeria has an abundance of proven and probable reserves of coal. The proven reserve of coal is 639 million metric tones 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. In fact when I came into office coal was been looked at has been 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.
Adegbite also 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 is ranked sixth in the world in terms of reserve size. He further said that the nation was endowed with a bitumen reserve size of 42.74 billion metric tonnes, which had 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.
He said: “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 31 January 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”.
The minister also revealed that the enormous and abundant mineral resources spread across every part of the country has potential to make the Nation the great, while also uniting its citizens.
“Several administration had spoken in the past about diversification but had mostly paid lip service to the agenda, but this present administration led by president Muhammadu Buhari has put it’s money where it’s mouth is by striving to diversify the economy essentially through two sectors mining and agriculture. This administration was the first to approve extra budgetary funds for the sector. Indeed Mining has the ability to unite us as a nation as there is no state in Nigeria that does not have a mineral resource”.