Mr Obadiah Nkom, the Director-General, Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (NMCO) said Nigeria spent 13 million dollars on Bitumen importaton as at 2020.
Nkom made this known at a round table during the ongoing three days Nigeria-Africa Natural Resources and Energy Investment Summit yesterday in Abuja.
According to him, Nigeria is blessed with 42.74 billion metric tonnes of bitumen reserve yet untapped.
The bitumen is located in Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa.
He said that currently the global market for bitumen was 42 billion dollars, adding that the market could increase to 66 billion dollars by 2027 due to its high demand.
“This shows that there will be rise in the value of bitumen market by 2027; that is why Nigeria should look into bitumen exploration that will bring development to the country.
“Nigeria can conserve its foreign exchange when it starts exploration on the mineral and this will bring a boost to our economy.
“Currently, Nigeria is ranked No. 6 in the world in terms of its bitumen deposit.
“The demand for bitumen in Nigeria is high as it is mainly used for road construction.
“Currently, Nigeria hhs more than 160, 000 kilometres of roads to be tared while only 60,000 are already tared,” he said.
Also, Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, the Director-General, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) said that the government had identified seven strategic minerals based on the information available on them.
The seven minerals are Coal, Iron Ore, Bitumen, Gold, Limestone, Lead/Zinc and Barite.
Garba said that the government had invested funds in generating Geoscience data for those minerals to enable investors to have adequate knowledge about them.
“Basically, you will agree with me that the business of mining is not meant for government to do investigation on minerals, but in this our particular climate, we need to take this information up to a particular level whereby the minerals will be attractive to investors.
“Also, we have what we call the Decision Support System (DSS), this is a World Bank project, the essence of all these is that the government is trying to ensure that all the information that investors need to take decision in investing in mining are available.”
Mr Cyril Azobu, the Partner/Mining Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Member, Bitumen Steering Committee, said that PwC was the transaction advisor for the government on the concession of bitumen to the right investors.
According to Azobu, Nigeria is endowed with a good quality of untapped bitumen.
“Bitumen is a big demand all over the world, Nigeria can serve as a hub for local supply of bitumen or asphalt for export in sub-Sahara to other countries.”
He said that programmes had been lined up for the successful take for bitumen concession to the right investors, adding that hopefully it will be concluded before end of this year.
Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, issued a letter of award on Nov.11, 2021 to PwC to act as its Transaction Advisor and Programme Manager for the concession of the bitumen block to potential investors.
The ministry in collaboration with the PwC will embark on a sensitisation workshop and investor conference will hold soon.
The event would include a media launch and a technical working session and the event will help the ministry to pitch the bitumen investment opportunity to potential local and foreign investors both in person and virtually.
The ministry said that the concession would not fail like the previous bitumen concessions made in 2002 and the 2005 that were revoked due to failure of the concessionaires.
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