Nigeria is just one country in Africa that has coal. Then only difference, Nigeria is blessed with rich coal especially Enugu which is known as the “the coal city” because of its vast coal deposits, other states include; Benue, Kogi, Delta, Kwara, Plateau, Abia, Anambra, Bauchi, Edo, Ondo, Adamawa and Imo.
History holds it that coal was first discovered in Nigeria in 1909 at the Udi Ridge in Enugu by a British mines engineer, Albert Kitson. But, Kitson was not exploring for coal. He had hoped to discover silver. The mining and production of coal were at its peak in the 1950s, but unfortunately, after the civil war, coal production in Nigeria declined drastically and with the diversion to crude oil, the mining of coal has been removed from the Nigerian natural resource’s limelight. Coal and other productive, revenue-generating sectors of the economy were abandoned after the discovery of crude oil in the 1950s.
By the time the Federal Government, during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, decided to privatize the mining sector, it was already clear that the country was no longer interested in harnessing its abundant, valuable coal deposits.
The mines are still there, the coal deposits are still there Indeed, available records indicate that Nigeria still holds large coal reserves, estimated to be at least 2 billion metric tons. The revenue generating potential of coal production in the country was further enhanced by the discovery of bituminous coal suitable for use in coke production, for the iron and steel industries. In fact, the desirability of the country’s coal deposits, reputed for their low Sulphur content, will be appreciated in the international market.
Nigerian coal ranks one of the most bituminous in the world due to low Sulphur and ash content and rated environmentally friendly in line with global campaign on cleaner source of energy in order to reduce negative impact of climate change. Their characteristic properties (low sulphur and ash content and low thermoplastic properties), make these sub-bituminous coals ideal for coal-fired electric plants. Nigerian coal has been found suitable for boiler fuel, production of high calorific gas, domestic heating, briquettes, formed coke and the manufacture of a wide range of chemicals including waxes, resins, adhesives and dyes.
How will the effects of US and China effect the potential new spark Nigeria has been waiting for? With parts of Europe and China looking for other partners besides the US and with high quality coal and cheaper cost could open new opportunities for Nigerian Coal Industry over the next 10.