The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, announced on Sunday that the Federal Government had embarked on initiatives to use coal to generate power.
Adegbite, who made the announcement at a forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said that coal to power plants were being built to generate power by some companies in parts of the country.
The minister described coal as the cheapest source of power generation in Nigeria.
He said that coal had huge potential but regretted that the world was moving away from fossil fuel, a development that made Nigeria not to get needed support from foreign donors to exploit coal.
“Anytime you mention coal to the World Bank or any donor agency or anybody that is giving money, they say no that they are not going to support coal because there are cleaner technologies than coal.
“But we have come to the realisation that Nigeria has coal in abundance so we must use our coal. So, we are encouraging coal to power locally and it is working.
“The Dangote Group is now using coal in some of their cement plants. They are using coal because coal is cheaper than gas.
“A lot of industries, especially the cement companies are now using coal. Already, we have a few coal to power plants that are coming up.
“The most prominent one is Mostra Energy, which is coming up around Delta State. It is going to develop about 60 megawatts of electricity which will serve the grids. People are asking for more fields now.”
Adegbite noted, however, that while coal-to-power was being encouraged locally, exporting the mineral might not be popular anymore because focus was currently on renewable energy.
He said that cleaner technologies were being developed to remove or contain the harmful effects of coal on human beings.