The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa, says the Federal Government is committed to building coal-fired electricity by 2020. Bawa said this while declaring open the 55th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Mining and Geoscience Society on Tuesday in Enugu. He noted that the government had plans to grow the coal-fired electricity generation to about 30 per cent of total energy generation in the country. The minister explained that for this to be possible, the Federal Government had fine-turned the policies of mining and exploration in the country in its National Roadmap on Mining.
Bawa lauded the NMGS for its partnership with the Federal Government, which he said had yielded positive results by having a new mining and exploration focus meant for job and wealth creation and sustainable development. Earlier, the President of the society, Prof. Silas Dada, said that infrastructural deficit, especially in the areas of power and transportation, both of which are keys to the mining sector and industrialization, are challenges that required attention. Dada noted that the current level of infrastructure could hardly attract investments in mining nor attract turnkey industries. According to him, the solution to returning Nigeria to the global mining market lies in inter-ministerial rapprochement.
He said: “NMGS believes that a joint effort of extractive ministries – Ministry of Mining and Ministry of Power-Works-Transport – that relate at ministerial level every week can initiate a working team for the purpose of drawing the relevant blueprint.” He called on government to resuscitate and revive the Makeri Smelting Company that was closed down since 1990. He said: “Such a step will produce beneficiated minerals that meet the specifications of industries, thereby generating massive employment that lead to wealth creation with concomitant economic growth and national development.’’ The theme of the four days conference is “Maximizing Mineral and Energy Resources for Industrialization’’.