Govt to tap enormous coal resources for power

coalOscarline Onwuemenyi 16 August 2013, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government may have concluded plans to intensify its coal-to-power project in order to diversify sources of power generation in the country.

This position is coming at the heels of the report of the Ministerial Committee on Coal to Power Project, set up by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, which called for the revitalization of coal industry for wide range of uses particularly for power generation in order to meet the energy requirements of the masses.

According to the report presented by the Chairman of Committee on Coal to Power Project  and the Director- General, Mining Cadastre Office, Engr. Mohammed Amate, to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development in Abuja, the coal to power initiative being adopted by the present administration seems to be the simplest, most economical and sustainable option for the country.

The committee proposed a two-pronged programme aimed at accelerating the exploitation of Nigeria’s coal resource for power generation which includes committed efforts for the development  of the privatised/concessioned coal blocks(Low Hanging Fruits)i.e Ogboyega I and II and Okaba coal blocks, as well as development of other identified coal resource blocks with little or no geosciences data.

The committee further recommended the need to carry out further geosciences work to generate more data on the available coal resource in the country which would make them attractive to prospective investors and enhance the development of the coal resource for power generation and other uses.

Engr. Amate expressed optimism that if the observations and recommendations proffered in their report are considered and fully implemented, Nigeria would be able to meet the objective of achieving the security of energy within the shortest period of time.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada in his remarks commended the commitment of the Ministerial Committee and their ability to submit a report within the time frame.

The Minister reiterated the Federal Government’s desire to generate up to 30% of electricity from coal fired power plants to meet the power requirements of the country.

He noted that the Ministerial Committee on Coal to power project was set up by the ministry so as to ensure all information relating to all coal locations in the country are harnessed in one place as well as “to know the level of information we have on them and what level of information we require.”

Arc. Sada also noted that the type and quality of coal resource in Nigeria is of power producing type which is widely acknowledged adding that, about two private investors had presently indicated interests in taking up some of the coal locations we have in the country.

He disclosed that Special Mining Retreat which would be chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan would come up in the country this month, noting that, coal to power project will be the focal point of discussion at the retreat.

The Minister identified power as one of the critical infrastructural requirements of mining he noted that “Unless we solve the power problem, we can hardly make progress in any other sector of the economy.”

He expressed his ministry’s determination to collaborate with other relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government in ensuring that the coal to power project is achieved.

The minister thanked the committee for a job well done and assured them that the report would serve as a springboard for the ministry to move forward.

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