FG Moves to Revive Enugu Coal Mines

The Federal Government has commenced moves to revive mining activities in Enugu coal mines, which have been inactive for about 40 years.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, announced on Monday that the Federal Government would conduct an audit of the mines.

The minister made the disclosure during a town hall meeting with mining and steel sector stakeholders in Enugu.

Before attending the town hall meeting, the minister and his delegation had visited the Okpara and Onyeama mines in the state.

The visit, he explained, was in line with plans by the Federal Government to revive the mines, which are reputed to have abundant deposits of coal.

Fayemi explained that the Federal Government would harness the coal deposits in order to address the country’s power challenges.

He said, “The current administration sees coal as a veritable source of energy. If you look at the road map for energy that was produced by the previous government, which we are not changing, it said a major proportion of Nigeria’s energy should come from coal.

“Our priority is coal to power generation and it is already happening. We are not unmindful of the fact that Nigeria has very abundant coal reserves and we will make sure that this is developed. That is partly why we came to look at what is doable with the Okpara and Onyeama mines, and others.

“Our attitude to the energy problem is that this is an existential threat to our country and we will address it with what we have. The abundant coal that is available will be utilised.”

Fayemi added that the Federal Government would partner the African Development Bank to revamp coal production.

“We are partnering the African Development Bank to fund coal production. We cannot use the World Bank loan to fund coal production, but the AfDB has no qualms about that,” he added.

The minister, however, noted that residents of parts of Enugu, particularly areas where the mines are located, should be prepared to swallow a “bitter pill” in the form of relocation in the event of the reactivation of the mines.

“The government will do something about it (coal mines), but the people will also be prepared to swallow a bitter pill. There may be a need to relocate some people. When you tell people to relocate from where they have lived for more than 30 years, you know how it feels, but the mines are a threat to human life,” he said.



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