By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU — MINISTER for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has raised hope that it is still possible to establish a coal power generating plant in Enugu State in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Fayemi disclosed that already three coal power generating plants had been established in Kogi, Gombe and Sokoto states through private sector initiatives, adding that establishing a similar one through coals mined in Enugu is in the offing.
Fayemi spoke, yesterday, in a meeting with mining and steel sector stakeholders shortly after he visited the abandoned Onyeama and Okpara coal mines in Enugu.
He said it was partly pursuant to the objective that brought him to Enugu, noting that it won’t be long before the Enugu coal generating power plant is established.
Fayemi said: “Nigeria’s roadmap, even from the previous administration, is that at least 30 per cent of our power generation should come from coal and we are pursing that.
“Our priority is to see that coal to power production is achieved and some companies, like Lafarge and Dangote, have set up coal power plants in Gombe and Kogi states while another one is coming up in Sokoto.”
The minister also noted that the federal government is seeking the partnership of state governments in mining activities same as the private sector, which he noted the federal government requires more collaboration with.
“We encourage modular coal fired plants of 20 to 30 megawatts to service cluster communities. That one will even be faster than the 1000 megawatts that may take time to set up,” he said.
He lamented that the Enugu coal mines which he visited are now shadows of the past with difficult terrains to access, resulting to today decay of the coal mining industry in Enugu.
“Mining has gone to level zero in Nigeria. Ordinarily it should be a private sector affair but we are seeking the partnership of state governments in mining because they feel they should collect reality and taxes.
“We have also extended the derivation principle same as obtained in Oil and Gas industry to Mining and solid minerals,” said Fayemi.