Nigeria signs $3.7bn MOU with Chinese firm on coal energy

Minister-of State for Power, Zainab-Kuchi19 August 2013, Abuja – The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with a Chinese energy firm, HTG/Pacific Energy Co. Ltd, for a $3.7 billion coal to power project.

The signing of the MoU took place at the Banquette Hall of the Presidential Villa, at the end of a one day workshop on Solid Minerals sector at the villa.

After signing the MoU, the Chairman of Pacific Energy, Co. Ltd, Adedeji Adeleke, said the MoU represents the first step to building plants that will generate additional 1200 mega watts of electricity to the national grid.

He also disclosed that a greater part of the funds required to carry out the project will be sourced from foreign banks.

“For this particular project, almost all the fund are going to be borrowed from outside the country. The local banks have the capacity to fund, but there are certain things they need to see in place to make sure that their money will come back” he said.

He said with the signing of the MoU, the nation can expect additional power generated into the grid within the next 48 months.

“This MoU is the first step towards our proposed 1200 mega watts power plant to be built in Enugu state, using the coal we are going to mine from the Ezima coal mine. The MoU is actually for the allocation of the coal mine,” he said,

Mr. Adeleke further stated that with the signing of the MoU, the company can now move into the Ezima coal complex to commence exploitation of the abundant coal deposit within the area.

” There is estimated reserve and confirmed reserve, but we are going to do our own work to confirm the actual reserve to make sure that we have enough to power the 1200 mega watts within the next say 50 years.

“This MoU now allows us to move in to start the exploration immediately,” he said.

He declared that the investment will be in two parts, one part involving the development of the coal mine and the construction of the power plant.

“If everything goes well with the exploration, we are expecting to start generating power within the next 48 months.”

President Goodluck Jonathan earlier in his speech had pointed that Nigeria’s Coal reserve which is put at about 360 metric tonnes if properly utilised can generate 30 percent of the nation’s electricity needs.

Speaking on the likely challenges, ahead of the resumption of activities in the coal mine, Mr. Adeleke also said the company envisages peaceful operation in the area but does not totally rule out possible conflict with the community.

“We do not know the community issues we are going to face. You know, you heard some of the issues raised here earlier; we also have issues like the power purchase agreement as well as ensuring that it is a bankable power purchase agreement because most of the money is going to be borrowed.

“Okay, it is not that somebody has the money somewhere. So we need bankable PPA, we need cooperation from the communities and we are going to do our part as corporate entity to make sure that the communities are taken care of as well as have the technology to check pollution,” he said.

– Talatu Usman, Premium Times

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