Mr Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said that licences for mining of coal for power generation had not been awarded since the emergence of the current administration.
Fayemi said this at a stakeholders and press meeting on pre-Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) at the ministry on Wednesday in Abuja. The minister was representing by Mr. Egghead Odewale, Technical Adviser/Chief of Staff of the Minister. He said the Federal Government had stated that coal mining licences would be issued only to companies interested in generating electricity from coal. Fayemi said the ministry would collaborate with the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, to ensure that coal contributed in power generation in the country. He said: “One of the processes for the issuance is applicants must have power generating licence before they can be granted licences for coal-mining in the country. “We have dedicated that coal deposits in the country would only be awarded for power and licences for mining of coal deposits would only be awarded to those who want to generate electricity. “Since the inception of this administration, no licences for coal has been awarded which is not for the purpose of power generation, so if you acquire a licence for mining coal you have to also have that for power. On the licensing process, he explained that once application was filed and it did not have any legal or existing issues to the holder of the licence, it would be awarded. He added that it must however be for power generation. Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, Director of Communication, Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), pledged the organisation’s support to sustainability in the extractive industries (SITEI) programmes and operations. Orji said one of the challenges NEITI had faced was in disseminating reports that focused on the issues in harnessing the opportunities and potentials in oil, gas and mining sector. “We have had very limited channels and platform to disseminate this information so when we come across very credible organisations like SITEI, we leverage and partner with them. “We use their channels, their stakeholders and events that they organise such as the series of conferences they organise to reach out to those we cannot ordinarily reach. He said NEITI would focus its partnership with the ministry to see how Nigeria could channel its energy and attention to the solid mineral sector that had been ignored over the years. Earlier, Ms Bekeme Masade, Executive Director, CRS-in-Action and Convener SITEI, said this year’s SITIE was focused on revitalising the Nigerian economy beyond oil, prospects for a thriving export driven extractive sector. She explained that at a time like this when Nigeria was in doldrums over the lack of funding in oil and gas, it was the prime time to look into the mining sector and resource governance. “So this year, SITEI, we are looking at resource redistribution and the strengthening of institutions. “Last year through our research we have said that there was a 3.5 billion dollar opportunity in this sector, so what are we doing to make that happen and how can we strengthen the institutions? “So we are looking forward to SITEI 2016 releasing a set of principles that will guide the sector. Prof. Okey Onyejekwe, Special Adviser to the Minister, said the ministry would partner with other actors in the sector to ensure an effective monitoring and evaluation strategy. He also said the ministry would attempt to create a robust communication strategic framework that would allow regular engagement of key stakeholders in the mineral implementation framework.