The efforts of the federal government to diversify Nigeria’s economy has received a major boost with the discovery of a huge deposit of coal in Sokoto State.
This discovery was revealed by the founder/executive chairman of BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, when he informed the minister of solid minerals development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, that his group had found coal in commercial quantity in Sokoto State.
Rabiu spoke when the minister visited Sokoto on a tour of the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN).
The BUA chairman, who is also the chairman of CCNN, disclosed that the group intended to use the newly discovered coal resource to fuel a 40MW power plant being constructed as part of the project.
According to him, the new cement factory can use both coal and LPFO (Low Pour Fuel Oil), and will source its power needs from the power plant, with the excess generated power moved to the national grid.
He further told the minister that BUA’s $300 million investment in the new cement plant is the single largest private sector-led investment in Nigeria’s North West and has the capacity of producing 1.5million metric tonnes per annum.
According to him, the new cement plant will be completed before the third quarter of 2017.
The BUA chief executive stated that the project began a few years ago as the first expansion of the plant since 1986 before BUA group took over majority shareholding in 2010.
Rabiu noted that the plant has great export potential, as it is bordering both Niger and Benin Republic with just about 100 and 200 kilometres respectively.
He added that aside it becoming a good platform for the diversification of the economy, the country stood to earn good foreign exchange via its exports.
Responding to the promising potentialities of the cement firm, the minister, Fayemi, commended the BUA Group and Sokoto Cement for their contributions to various areas of national development. He noted that, aside the state government, CCNN remained the second-largest employer of labour in Sokoto State.