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Firm assures on converting coal to electricity

By Luka Binniyat
ABUJA—A firm, Desert Rock Exploration has said in Abuja, yesterday, that it would be possible to generate not less than 2,100Mw of electricity within 24 months from coal, if government officials do not frustrate investors with unnecessary bureaucracy, mostly for corrupt purposes.

He said producing electricity within the stipulated time would be premised on the condition that officials of government give coal exploration licence and an Independent Power Producer, IPP, licence to investors, among others.

The Executive Vice President of Desert Rock Exploration Nig. Ltd, Mr. Philip Pereira said in an interview that, “the presidential directive to explore conversion of coal to electricity is feasible, but only if you have modules for producing 250Mw to 300Mw,  and if government workers behave well”.

According to him, the project has to be handled by one company.

“And that will mean that you have to implore the Long Wall mines, because that is the cheapest form of mining coal”, he told Vanguard.

“In the Long Wall mines, production cost is about $7 to $8 dollars per tone. But if you are going into Open Cast mining, production of coal is about $20 to $22 dollars per tone”, he said.

“So if you produce 5 million tonnes of coal per year to produce 500Mw of electricity, you may spend about $40 million for Long Wall mines and about $100 million for Open cast mining. That is just for coal production”, he added,.

“But, to produce 5 million tonnes a year which should normally produce 500Mw, believe me, it would take not less than 5 years for the Mines to be developed”, he said.

“Then if you think of other structures that would go with that to produce electricity, you could say, 6 to 7 years is just good to plan to good quantity of electricity  from coal.

“But, you can put in about 250 Mw and 300Mw coal powered station in about 7 states that we have confirmed to have enough coal in Nigeria”, he said.

“With that you can  produce between 1,800 Mw and 2,000Mw in far less than 7 years, since the quantity of coal needed would be less than 5 million tonnes per at each site”, he said.

“But, you need to have one company to do that. If not, you would have chaos on your hand to deal with”, he warned.

“Because producing electricity with coal is a speciality.”, he explained,
“And  if you give it to one company, then  the economy of scale comes to play”, he said.

Asked if bureaucracy would not delay delivery, he said: “in normal circumstances, in a country where everyone thinks about the interest of the country first, in a country where bottlenecks are not created out of personal interest, a small module of 250Mw and 300Mw is very possible within 24 months”, he said.


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