The Federal Government says it plans to open up Nigeria’s abundant coal deposits to investors interested in using coal to generate electricity.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, stated this when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
“We actually have coal in abundance in Nigeria, and we have decided in this government that we need to take advantage of it to open it up to investors, who are interested and get them to come and site plants near the coal deposits.
“They can then use it to generate the shortfall that we are experiencing in the power supply situation in the country.
“And I believe it is only when we have done that, our people even have electricity that we can start talking about the dangers but I don’t think that should stop us from getting power to the people which is a priority for Nigerians right now,” he said.
He said the government had identified the places it needed to reclaim as part of efforts to boost mining in the country.
The minister said the brown field project had been reopened and allocated to people who would work in the areas, adding that the tin mines in Plateau had been privatised.
He said the ministry did not have enough money to reclaim all the mining sites in the country.
Mr. Fayemi said the N400 million required for the preliminary phase of the work had been captured in the 2016 budget of the Ministry of Power.
According to him, the project cannot be realised without the active involvement of the Ministry of Solid Minerals.
“We are working with the Federal Ministry of Work, Power and Housing on the Okaba mines and the Onyema mines in Enugu with a view to ensuring that we assist in the coal-to-power generating plants project.
“We will site those GENCOs nearer the reserve where they are rather than take them thousands of miles away where you now have to spend money on transmission lines.”
Mr. Fayemi said coal was clearly a factor in the energy mix of the country.
He spoke of the need to address the power situation in the country considering the role it plays in driving the economy.