Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has revealed that the ongoing energy challenge in Europe occasioned by the Russian-Ukraine War has increased foreign interests in Nigeria’s coal.
Adegbite disclosed that the Prime Minister of Poland had made enquiry about the country’s coal as an alternative energy source for the European country.
The Mines Minister made the disclosure on Thursday 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 in a statement in Abuja through his S .A. Media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, further hinted that he had been invited by some Europeans to speak about the Nigerian coal.
According to him, ‘’Nigeria has an abundance of proven and probable reserves of coal. The proven reserve of coal is 639 million metric tons 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,” 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.
Continuing, the minister disclosed that the country’s Bitumen deposits is ranked sixth in the world in terms of reserve size, adding, “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.
“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,” Adegbite concluded.