FG sets up committee on bitumen exploration

The Federal Government has set up a committee to work out modalities for the exploitation and exploration of bitumen resources in the country.

The development was in line with the economic diversification agenda.

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, inaugurated the nine-man Committee on the Development of Bitumin Resources in Abuja on Friday.

Speaking during the event, Adegbite disclosed that Nigeria has an estimated reserve of about 42.74 billion metric tons of bitumen, mostly located in Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa states.

He noted that the reserves have remained largely untapped for several years.

Noting that bitumen is being used in road construction projects across the country, Adegbite said the Federal Government intends to explore and exploit the mineral for economic development.

The committee, headed by the Director-General, Mining Cadastre Office, Simon Nkom, has officials in relevant departments in the ministry, and a representative from the Bureau of Public Enterprises, as members.

The committee is to collate and study previous reports on the development of bitumen in Nigeria, and also identify current title holders and the level of exploration and exploitation of the mineral in the country.

The committee was also mandated to determine available bitumen reserves in the country.

In the same vein, the committee is to recommend criteria for allocation of available reserves and ways of developing the resource to ensure maximum benefit for the country.

The committee was given two weeks to submit its report.

Responding, Nkom, assured the minister that the committee will do a thorough job, and also deliver its report within the stipulated period.

Written by Ihuoma Chiedozie, Abuja, published on Punch Newspapers