Nigeria Loses $1bn Annually To Unmined Coal As Demand Increases

Burning coal

Information available from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that Nigeria is currently losing about $1 billion annually from the low supply and under utilization of its coal reserves. This is despite the fact that Nigerian coal is currently in high demand in the international market on account of its low sulphur and moderate ash content.

The loss is attributed to abandoned coal mines and lack of necessary and modern infrastructure needed to drive the long-neglected sector, which has the export capacity or potentials of 15 million tonnes per annum.

Coal is found in commercial quantities in states such as Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Kogi, Benue, Gombe, among others. According to experts, Nigerian coal is also adequate and suitable for use as boiler fuel, high calorific gas, domestic heating, formed coke and in the manufacture of a wide range of chemicals.

Current uses for coal in the country are in cement production, brick factories, foundries, laundries and bakeries, tyre manufacture, battery manufacture, and domestic cooking fuel .  According to Global Menthahe, an online energy research paper, it is projected that as much as 200,000 tonnes of Nigerian coal could be directed to supply coke to the Ajaokuta  Steel Plant per year.

In spite of these domestic needs, analysts say part of what is consumed domestically is still imported, owing to utter neglect of this sector.

Following this trend, experts have called on the government to take coal mining business seriously, especially now that the need for economic diversification has become most necessary. They also point at employment generation and creation capacities of coal business as an important potential benefit the nation stands to derive from same.

However, the NBS has said the government has not rested on its roars in its bid to revamp the sector, citing incentives and creation of investment climate as policies geared towards luring investors to coal mining business.