Nigeria will soon be using coal as an alternative source of energy, the Minister of Solid Minerals and Mining, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said.
Fayemi, who spoke when the Executive Director of a Non-Governmental Organization, CSR-in-Action, Bekeme Masade, led a team of civil society organisations on a visit to him, said the Ministry of Power, Woks and Housing, has set itself the policy on energy needs and it has proposed that coal will contribute 30 per cent into the energy needs.
He said: “We have dedicated that coal licenses will only be awarded to those who want to generate electricity and we are collaborating with the FMPWH on this,” adding that the process is on.
“There are certain processes you need to fulfil. You need to have a licence for power generation before you acquire a licence for mining. Since the inception of this administration, no licence for coal has been awarded which is not for the purposes of power generation.
“So if you acquire a licence for mining coal, you have to also have that for power. Once the application is filed and it is not encumbered by any legal, or existing holder of a licence, the licence is awarded, but it must be for power generation only. Quite a number of companies have applied directly either to us or to the FMPWH,” he stated.
On Ajaokuta, Fayemi said the Federal Government has not conceded control of Ajaokuta Steel Company to either Chinese or Indian firms, saying there is no official engagement with anybody on ASC. He described as misleading, reports in some quarters to the effect that the steel company has been handed over to a Chinese firm.
Fayemi, who was represented by his Technical Adviser, Egghead Odewale, said the original concession agreement that was signed between Nigeria, Global Steel Holding Limited and Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited, “has been re-modified.
“The original concession agreement that was signed between the Federal Government of Nigeria, Global Steel Holding Limited and Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited has been re-modified. It has been modified to decouple Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited from Nigeria Iron Ore Mining Company in Itakpe.
“What that also portends is that Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited now has seven years of their original concession to complete the mining operation to operate Neo-coal in Itakpe whereas Ajaokuta has reverted to the government of Nigeria. So it is now been held by the Federal Government of Nigeria, “ he stated.
Speaking on those he called “artisanal miners” and those who work under the radars”, the minister said the menace was part of the development challenges in the country.
He expressed concern over the menace of illegal miners in the country estimated to number about 15 million.
He said: “Our approach is not a law and order approach to be able to regularise the operations of these illegal miners who work under the radar. Our approach is to incentivise them to formalise their processes, and to be able to get them to contribute to public revenue and for the benefit of their own operation so that they will be able to benefit from the mining operations that we undertake day-in-day-out because we are marking a process to undertake an extension service for artisanal miners.
“I won’t say we have credible data on their number, but there are estimates that put their population to be up to between 10-15 million.