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Coal Mine

Enugu residents give hints on what FG’ll meet while reviving Enugu coal mines

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The recent move by the Federal Government to revive mining activities in Enugu coal mines, abandoned about 40 years, has elicited reactions from residents of the Coal City.

During the era of coal mining in Enugu, there were four main mines including Iva Mine, Oneyama Mine and Okpara Mine and another one.

It would be recalled during a recent Town Hall meeting with Solid Minerals stakeholders, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi expressed the readiness of the government to conduct an audit of the mines, ahead of their revival.

But residents of the Coal region of the town have started reacting, expressing fears that all the four mines have been filed by rain waters of yesteryears.

Mr. Daniel Agu, a resident whose father worked in Iva Mine told Business Hilights Correspondent that “One of the greatest regrets before my father died was the collapse of all the mines”.

“My father told me that deep down inside the mines, there were pillars some made of hard wood while many are iron. Today, that is about 40 years after, all the wooden pillars have collapsed and even the iron pillars must have damaged because all the mines are waterlogged.

He recalled that his father told him that “The coal mining ended not because there is no more coal deposits, but because government has seen the good taste of money from oil and dumped the mining activities.

Another resident said mining activities ended abruptly and that was why the mines were not properly protected or officially closed, thus creating the room for them to be waterlogged years after.

But according to a Lagos Youth Corper who studied geology, he said “the cost of reviving any of the waterlogged Coal mine will be very high, not just on monetary terms but human lives because it may collapse considering the long time of water content.

The NYSC member who pleaded anonymity said “the last set of manager at the mines need to face a serious probe on why they failed to close the mines in a protective format and left the mines to be overrun by rain water, wild animals and criminals.

It would be recalled that before declaring the meeting open, Dr. Fayemi had visited the Okpara and Onyeama mines in the state.

The Minister was quick to explain that the Federal Government would harness the coal deposits in order to address the country’s power challenges.

According to him, “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.”

He revealed that “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,” the Minister assured.


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