The ongoing energy crisis in Europe caused by the Russian-Ukraine War has increased foreign interests in Nigeria’s coal, the minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, has 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.
In a statement by the minister’s media aide, Ayodeji Adeyemi, 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, entitled “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 Nigeria’s 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. In fact, when I came into office, coal was being looked at as being 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,” the minister said.
Also 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.
He disclosed that the country’s bitumen deposits is ranked sixth in the world in terms of reserve size, noting that Nigeria had a bitumen reserve size of 42.74 billion metric tonnes, which had remained unexploited for years.
According to him, Nigerian is 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.”
According to the statement, the minister also revealed that the enormous and abundant mineral resources spread across every part of the country has potential to make it great, while also uniting its citizens
“Several administrations 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 its money where its mouth is by striving to diversify the economy essentially through two sectors – mining and agriculture.
“This administration was the first to approve extrabudgetary 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, ” he said.