On Tuesday, Nigerian geotechnical consultant Jidet Nigeria revealed that a group of indigenous mineral explorers have identified 196 million metric tonnes of coal reserves in Edo State, Western Nigeria.
The reserves are estimated to have a generation capacity of 1,200MW for 50 years with a believed construction cost of $1.5 billion, Olujide Pocon Tajudeen-Alan, head of the technical team at Jidet, told local newspaper The Daily Trust.
Tajudeen-Alan said: “We have the capacity to produce 1,000MW electricity for the next 50 years from the coal reserve. As at now, we have confirmed a reserve of 196 million [metric tonnes].”
Jidet has met with the Federal Ministry of Power in Abuja on how to attract technical partners and willing financiers with “a view to actualising the project”, according to the newspaper report.
“Our major reasons for coming here is we want to commence the application and processing of licences to officially enter into the power sector. We are also soliciting the support of experts in the ministry to guide us because initially we are mainly into mineral exploration,” the company said.
Contributing to Nigeria’s power generation
Minister of Power Chinedu Nebo was represented by his special adviser on renewable energy, Dr. Albert Okorogu, who responded by saying that: “The meagre electricity we have in Nigeria is not sufficient so anything we have that we can tap into is very much welcomed.”
Okorogu continued: “They have discovered coal in some unusual places that we have looked into and that’s wonderful. If you look at our coal map, we have never actually mapped Edo as having coal. So the ministry will do all it can in ensuring that they move from mining coal to using it to generate power.”
In March, the African Development Bank (AfDB) put up $200 million (ZAR2 billion) as a partial risk guarantee for the Nigerian power sector.
The federal government will use the funds for expansion of coal-fired power plants in attempts to increase the country’s power generation capacity.
Managing director of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Rumundaka Wonodi said: “We are working with the World Bank for [a] partial risk guarantee to support the projects that we undertake; unfortunately, the World Bank is very reticent and they are not quite committed to giving support to coal because they deem it to be dirty fuel and not very good for the environment.
He added: “However, the AfDB, which is African and understands that Africa needs power from every source that it can, is supporting coal.”