The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has said the federal government will only grant operating licenses for the mining of the nation’s coal resources to power generating companies as part of efforts aimed at increasing the power generation capacity of the country.
Consequently, the Ministry of Solid Mineral Development said it is collaborating with the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in granting license to prospective investors in the sector. This was disclosed by Mr. Egghead Odewale, Technical Adviser to the Minister of Solid Mineral Development, in Abuja yesterday.
Mr. Odewale who represented the Minister, Dr. Kayode Fayemi at the meeting that is designed to intimate critical stakeholders with the Sustainability in the Extractive Industry (SITEI) held at the Ministry’s Conference Room, on Wednesday said the ministry has not issued any new licence for coal mining since the inception of the current administration.
According to him, the Ministry of Solid Mineral Development is working in line with the Ministry of Power’s determination to generate 30 per cent of the nation’s power through coal. He stated that discussions are at advance state with a German company which is ready to invest in the sector, stressing that the economic need for power outweighs the environmental implication of using coal for power generation.
Speaking on the reason for pre-SITEI stakeholders meeting, Bekeme Masada, Executive Director, CSR-in-Action/convener of SITEI 2016 said it was designed to engage the Ministry of Solid Mineral Development on government position regarding the mining sector, especially the revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, which was a major source of revenue for Nigeria in the past.
On the conference which is scheduled to hold later this month, Bekeme said, participants will explore potentials of Sustainable Energy and Extraction Principles (SEEP), putting critical plans, structures and principles in place for the smooth take off of the mining sector. In addition, the conference will address roles of all stakeholders including the media (before, during and after) the SITEI 2016 conference.
According to her, the conference which will facilitated by Global Rights, CSR-in-Action and Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) will serve as a session for key stakeholders to engage the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, in series of discussions and interviews regarding the ministry’s projections for the extraction industries.