President Goodluck Jonathan said on Monday that Nigeria can generate up to 30 per cent of its energy needs from its coal resources the coal resources using environmentally-friendly, clean technology.
President Jonathan who said this at a one-day Workshop on the Solid Minerals Sector Development, which he presided over at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja added that Nigeria is endowed with abundant coal reserves of the required quality necessary for power generation.
The workshop which was organised to ginger interest of investors in Nigeria solid minerals sector also featured the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Coal to Power for the development of Ezinmo Coal Block in Enugu and a 1000 megawatts coal power generating plant.
The MoU was signed between the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and HTG-Pacific Energy Consortium for the development of the Ezinmo Coal Bricks.
“Nigeria is endowed with abundant coal reserve of the required quality necessary for power generation and there is no reason why we should not explore the sector.
President Jonathan said the signing of the MoU is indicative of the growing synergy between the Ministries of Mines and Steel Development and Power collaborative efforts to attract investors to coal fired oil generation opportunities.
“We expect the co-operation to continue until we get the desired destination in terms of our power needs,’’ he said.
Professor Chinedu Nebo, the Minister of Power, said the MoU was on the utilisation of the mining licence, granted by the Federal Government for the Ezinmo coal block.
According to him, the licence was granted to an indigenous company with a Chinese partner, HTG-Pacific Energy Consortium, for the exploitation and mining of the coal block at Ezinmo.
The Minister of Power added that Ezinmo was a very large coal block which ranged from Enugu State to Benue State.
In addition to mining of the coal block, he said the company would build 1000 megawatts power plant, which made the agreement Coal to Power all the way.
Nebo said the signing of the MoU, would be followed by Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that would authorise the investors to build the coal-fired power plant
The Coal to Power plant would be cited Nsukka, the same location with the mine, to save the cost of transportation.
The Chairman of Pacific Energy Consortium, Adedeji Adeleke, said the estimated investments for the development of the coal mine and the building of the power plant would be about $3.7 billion.
He added that the company will begin work on the project immediately.
In a presentation on the Overview of the Solid Minerals Sector in Nigeria, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mohammed Sada, said recent exploration activities indicated the occurrence of 44 solid mineral resources. He added that a total of 4125 extant mineral licences were held by operators following the revocation of non-performing ones.
Sada who said the solid minerals sector had continuously recorded annual increases in revenue receipt identified challenges of the sector to include lack of adequate mineral projects with verifiable geo-sciences data and lack of proper fiscal regime.
Other problems militating against the growth of the sector, according to the Minister include non availability of adequate professional and skilled local manpower and unequipped inspectorate to ensure safe and environmentally friendly mining activities.
Vice President Namadi Sambo however assured the that government will tackle problems confronting the sector especially in the areas rail and water transportation.