FG to concession 42.74b metric tonnes of bitumen reserve

Federal Government has concluded plans to concession its bitumen reserve of 42.74 billion metric tonnes to stop over-reliance on imported bitumen for domestic road construction.

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on concession of delineated bitumen blocks on in Abuja, yesterday.

Adegbite said the concession became imperative, as Nigeria ranks sixth in the world in terms of reserve size, but still depends on importation for construction of its roads.

He noted that Nigeria’s population is growing. This will lead to increase in demand for road infrastructure as well as put additional strain on current road network,  resulting in higher demand for asphalt for construction and maintenance.

He said: “Bitumen is a crucial component of asphalt used in road construction. Nigeria currently has 200,000 km of road networks, with only 60,000km worth of roads paved. We have a total bitumen reserve size of 42.74 billion metric tonnes, which has remained unexploited for years.

“Nigeria population is projected to reach 400 million in 2050, up from the current estimate of 203 million, given the population growth rate of 2.5 per cent.

“The World Bank projects that Nigeria’s current urbanisation rate of 52 per cent will increase by four per cent yearly. Ninety per cent of goods, such as food and building materials, are transported by road to meet demand of the rising population and it will put strain on the current road network.”

The minister added that to ensure bitumen is fully harnessed for industrial and infrastructural development, the ministry constituted a nine-member Ministerial Bitumen Development Committee on January 31, 2021 to conduct inventory.

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