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.
Oil Posts 2% Gain for the Week Despite India Virus Surge
Oil prices steadied on Friday and were set for a weekly gain against the backdrop of optimism over a global economic recovery, though the COVID-19 crisis in India capped prices.
Brent crude futures settled 0.28% higher at $68.28 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude advanced 0.29% to $64.90 per barrel.
Both Brent and WTI are on track for second consecutive weekly gains as easing restrictions on movement in the United States and Europe, recovering factory operations and coronavirus vaccinations pave the way for a revival in fuel demand.
In China, data showed export growth accelerated unexpectedly in April while a private survey pointed to strong expansion in service sector activity.
However, crude imports by the world’s biggest buyer fell 0.2% in April from a year earlier to 40.36 million tonnes, or 9.82 million barrels per day (bpd), the lowest since December.
In the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, jobless claims have dropped, signalling the labour market recovery has entered a new phase as the economy recovers.
The recovery in oil demand, however, has been uneven as surging COVID-19 cases in India reduce fuel consumption in the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer.
“Brent came within a whisker of breaking past $70 a barrel this week but failed at the final hurdle as demand uncertainty dragged on prices,” said Stephen Brennock at oil brokerage PVM.
The resurgence of COVID-19 in countries such as India, Japan and Thailand is hindering gasoline demand recovery, energy consultancy FGE said in a client note, though some of the lost demand has been offset by countries such as China, where recent Labour Day holiday travel surpassed 2019 levels.
“Gasoline demand in the U.S. and parts of Europe is faring relatively well,” FGE said.
“Further out, we could see demand pick up as lockdowns are eased and pent-up demand is released during the summer driving season.”
Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange to Commence Gold Trading
With the admission of Dukia Gold’s diversified financial instruments backed by gold as the underlying asset, Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange is set to commence gold trading.
According to Dukia Gold, the instruments will be in form of exchange-traded notes, commercial papers and other gold-backed securities, adding that it will enable the company to deepen the commodities market in Nigeria, increase capacity, generate foreign exchange for the Nigerian government to better diversify foreign reserves and create jobs across the metal production value chain.
Tunde Fagbemi, the Chairman, Dukia Gold, disclosed this while addressing journalists at Pre-Listing Media Interactive Session in Lagos on Thursday.
He said, “We are proud to be the first gold company whose products would be listed on the Lagos Futures and Commodities Exchange. The listing shall enable us facilitate our infrastructure development, expand capacity and create fungible products.
“This has potential to shore up Nigeria’s foreign reserve and create an alternative window for preservation of pension funds. A gold-backed security is a hedge against inflation and convenient preservation of capital.”
“As a global player, we comply with the practices and procedures of London Bullion Market Association and many other international bodies. Our refinery will also have multiplier effects on the development of rural areas anywhere it is located,” he added.
Mr Olusegun Akanji, the Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, Heritage Bank, said the lender had created a buying centre for verification of quality and quantity of gold and reference price to ensure price discovery in line with the global standard.
Oil Nears $70 as Easing Western Lockdowns Boost Summer Demand Outlook
Oil prices rose for a third day on Wednesday as easing of lockdowns in the United States and parts of Europe heralded a boost in fuel demand in summer season and offset concerns about the rise of COVID-19 infections in India and Japan.
Brent crude rose 93 cents, or 1.4%, to $69.81 a barrel at 1008 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 85 cents, or 1.3%, to $66.54 a barrel.
Both contracts hit the highest level since mid-March in intra-day trade.
“A return to $70 oil is edging closer to becoming reality,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.
“The jump in oil prices came amid expectations of strong demand as western economies reopen. Indeed, anticipation of a pick-up in fuel and energy usage in the United States and Europe over the summer months is running high,” he said.
Crude prices were also supported by a large fall in U.S. inventories.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) industry group reported crude stockpiles fell by 7.7 million barrels in the week ended April 30, according to two market sources. That was more than triple the drawdown expected by analysts polled by Reuters. Gasoline stockpiles fell by 5.3 million barrels.
Traders are awaiting data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration due at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday to see if official data shows such a large fall.
“If confirmed by the EIA, that would mark the largest weekly fall in the official data since late January,” Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar said in a note.
The rise in oil prices to nearly two-month highs has been supported by COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in the United States and Europe.
Euro zone business activity accelerated last month as the bloc’s dominant services industry shrugged off renewed lockdowns and returned to growth.
“The partial lifting of mobility restrictions, the expectation that tourism will return in the near future, and the lure of the psychologically important $70 mark are all likely to have contributed to the price rise,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.
This has offset a drop in fuel demand in India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, which is battling a surge in COVID-19 infections.
“However, if we were to eventually see a national lockdown imposed, this would likely hit sentiment,” ING Economics analysts said of the situation in India.
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