America to partner Nigeria on coal to power project

Jul 12, 2010 02:00 AM

The United States Government expressed readiness to partner with the Federal Government in its quest to use coal to power some of its electricity plants across the country.
A statement by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in Abuja said Deputy Chief Mission to the US-Embassy in Nigeria, Dundas McCullough, disclosed this when he paid a courtesy call on the minister, Musa Mohammed Sada.

McCullough said the visit was to explore possible ways of co-operation with the ministry and the embassy on areas of US-trade development and opportunity to basically partner with the ministry on coal for power generation in the country. He said his country was interested in the ongoing quest by government to generate adequate power for Nigerians.
He expressed concern over the recent lead poisoning in Zamfara State and called for action to forestall future occurrence.

Sada in his remark said: "In as much as Mr President has vowed to ensure that the perennial power problem becomes a thing of the past, my ministry is ready to explore all avenues of coal power generation with all investors so that the industrialisation drive of Nigeria being one of the top 20 developed economies by 2020 remains far above rhetoric as we are committed to it."
He assured that with the ongoing baseline survey being carried out a lasting break through is under way to forestall future occurrence of lead poisoning associated with the activities of some miners in five villages of Zamfara State.

Sada told the envoy that the measures so far taken by the government, which include constituting an inter-Ministerial Committee comprising Ministries of Mines & Steel Development, Health & Environment has among other things prompted the immediate suspension of all further mining activities in the affected areas.
Other measures, he explained include inspection visits to all the affected zones, awareness creation of all the communities on the dangers inherent in illegal mining, meeting with various mining communities and traditional rulers as well as identification and discovery of what caused the lead poisoning and the immediate ways to control it.

While stressing that mining as a veritable venture started about hundred years ago when authorities at that time had Mining Police Officers, who ensured that human activity of any kind were not only regulated but corresponded with rules and regulations to collectively realise a set of aims, the minister noted that security agents were being drafted for the good of the people.
"There was need for the involvement of security agents for the good of the people, the immediate communities and the larger Nigerian society to enable the country's march towards the diversification of its economy a reality in the area of full scale development of the solid mineral resources."

He stated that the ministry was in active collaboration through its Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) with the US-Geological Survey Agency in areas such as capacity building and other non-governmental organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO) on lead poisoning as well as the World Bank through its Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project (SMMPR) catering for the needs of all mining communities and facilitating most activities of the ministry like awareness creation throughout the federation.
He said: "Our fears as expressed in some quarters as to whether the scourge might likely spread to some areas, what we did was to have a working group headed by the Director of Artisanal and Small Scale Mining in the Ministry and we are very determined to bring in a kind of sanity in what these miners do even if what we are witnessing today was as a result of the rush for gold."

Source / Daily Independent
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