16 September 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Federal government has called on mining operators in the country to use of coal as an alternative source of power generation.
It further said it was willing to work with private development partners to ensure efficient exploration of the minerals and metal sector to contribute significantly to the nation’s economic development.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada who stated this recently during a visit to Dangote Cement Group company in Ibese, Ogun State, expressed delight at the progress made so far by the cement company noting that mining operators such as the Dangote Group are not just stakeholders but development partners in the sector.
According to him, “We are taking serious the situation of power in the country, we felt we have to do whatever we can do to promote this type of bio- fuel for the purpose of power generation. What we try to do is to see how we can partner with them so that they can mine their own coal in the country and make it effective and cheap for them to be able to integrate into their system.”
He said “There is need to prove to Nigerians that coal mining is actually happening in the country, and not gemstone mining which, though important for a lot of purposes, is not considered as important as industrial minerals such as coal”.
Sada disclosed that Nigeria has a large quantity of coal reserves and each state of the federation has more than two types of solid minerals that can be harnessed.
He noted that, “As we can see, apart from exploiting one source of mineral, companies should extend its operations using coal as an alternative source of power which is also an initiative promoted by this administration.”
Arc. Sada said government as a regulator in the minerals and metal sector of the country would continue to partner with development partners so as to move the sector forward.
“I believe with partners like Dangote Group, our economy will grow. The Group’s level of involvement in the sector is great; it is not just stakeholders but development partner, we will continue to partner and encourage Dangote Group, until the country gets to where it is supposed to be by the year 2020,” he stated.
Arc. Sada assured stakeholders and development partners of the government’s support in area of community relations in mining operations by ensuring that some of the problems associated with mining activities are eliminated.
The minister said government was mindful of various environmental problems associated with the petroleum industry as a result of non-compliance with stipulated laws, adding that, the minerals and steel sector would continue to work proactively to curtail such menace in the sector.
He noted that the infrastructure was one of the major problems militating against the movement of solid minerals resources from the mines to the end users.
The minister also explained that the present administration was interested in the diversification of the nation’s economy in favour of the minerals and metal sector as a result of its multifaceted benefits in terms of revenue generation and employment opportunities.
He expressed optimism that with the mindsets of development partners and the successes recorded so far in the minerals and metal sector, the country would be transformed economically.
Earlier in his address, the president of Dangote Cement Group,Alhaji Aliko Dangote who was represented by a Director in the group, Alhaji Isa Tata said the successful completion of the plant was in fulfillment of the desire to ensure the nation is self-sufficient and stops further importation of cement.
In his presentation, the Chief Executive officer of Dangote Cement Group,Siharan Kumar said the group produced an average of 6 million metric tons of cement per annum.
Mr. Kumar said the group with the working capacity of 700 people, mostly Nigerians had a cordial relationship with the host communities in terms of the provision of the health care, education and basic amenities among others.