Nigeria’s Federal Government on Tuesday announced the award of a licence to Ondo State Government to mine its rich deposit of bitumen, said to be one of the largest in the world.
The Minister of Mines and Steels Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who made this known at the First Ondo State Investment Forum held at the International Event Centre (DOME), Akure, the state capital, said that the licence was granted to the state as part of the efforts of the federal government to diversify the economy and boost the country’s foreign exchange.
He did not state the extent of the licence or the acreage it covers.
Represented by Engr. Mohammed Amate, the Director of Mining Licence in the Ministry, Fayemi said the bitumen reserve in Ondo State can serve the whole of Africa, hence the Federal Government’s decision to explore the opportunity towards economic development of the country.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said the state, with a reserve of 42 billion barrels, boasts of the largest reserves of Bitumen and Tar Sands in the world.
Noted Fayemi: “Nigeria currently imports over 600,000 tons of asphalt per annum and the nation spends billions of naira on importation of asphalt every year. The naira is weak now because of much demand for dollar and less demand for naira and the poor export policy in the country.
“With bitumen being produced in Ondo State, federal Government will ensure that none of its road contractors imports asphalt and I am sure that many state governments will prefer to buy from Ondo state because it will definitely be cheaper here than imports from outside the country” The Minister said.