By Kingsley Okoye
The Federal Government on Thursday urged local and foreign investors to channel their investments into the huge deposit of coal resource to improve power generation in the country.
The Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Mr Abubakar Bwari, made the call in Abuja at the Annual Powering Africa Nigeria Investment Summit .
The summit is a private sector–led and finance focused summit on investment strategies.
The summit, organised by EnergyNet Ltd, a UK international company, is involved in active participation for the development of Africa’s power sector .
The summit, with the theme “Power Sector Recovery Programme, Recapitalizing Nigeria’s Energy Sector“, was designed to bring together stakeholders in Nigeria’s electricity supply industry.
It aimed at converging local and international finance institutions, power developers to release capital into Nigeria’s transforming power sector.
Bwari, represented by Mr Umar Hassan, a Director in the ministry, said that the theme of summit was apt, given the energy challenge occasioned by inadequate power generation.
He said that the inadequate power supply was impeding the industrialisation potential in the manufacturing sector.
This, he said, had resulted in the closure of some manufacturing companies.
According to him, inadequacies in power generation have been mainly heaped on disruptions in gas supplies to the 23 gas fired power plants and the aged three hydro generation plants in the country.
He said it was imperative to exploit the variety of fuel sources in the country including coal to provide power .
Bwari said there were lots of investment opportunities on coal, given the availability of about 30 billion tons of coal resource in the country.
He said investments in the resource could support the establishment of coal-fired power plants in the country to bridge deficiencies in power generation.
He said that the exploration of coal resource would also result in the provision of other useful by-products.
“Government has been drumming on the need to add value to our natural resources, coal being one of the many fuel sources for power is available for exploitation.“
The minster listed other investment opportunities in coal resource to include the production of coal briquettes which entailed using coal as fuel for domestic use and other heating purposes.
Others are establishment of briquetting plants and provision of stoves that use coal briquettes.
He said that 163 coal tittles existed in the records of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office as at August 2017.
He said 17 mining leases, 4 small scale mining leases and 142 exploration licences had been granted to investors to operate in Enugu, Kogi, Gombe, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Delta, Edo and Benue states.
He said that two coal mines were currently producing in Nigeria.
“These are located in Maiganga in Gombe, operated by Ashaka Cement Plc and Okobo in Kogi, operated by Zuma 828 Coal ltd, among other title holders.“
He said that the products from the companies were being used as fuel to fire kilins in cement production, adding that Zuma Group was, however, working to establish 1,200 Mw coal-fired power plant. (NAN)