The Minister of Mines and Steel Development Olamilekan Adegbite has said that the cost of road construction in the country would ultimately go down with the production of local bitumen. Adegbite made this known in Abuja during a press briefing on the concession of the delineated Nigerian bitumen blocks, as the nation commenced the process of local bitumen production.
The Minister stressed that local bitumen production would save the country foreign exchange and generate income for the government.
He further disclosed that the country’s bitumen deposits is ranked sixth in the world in terms of reserve size. He further said that the nation was endowed with a bitumen reserve size of 42.74 billion metric tonnes, which had remained unexploited for years. He said that the country was now poised to begin the production of bitumen locally as it had appointed a transaction advisor to oversee the process.
He said: “To ensure that Nigeria’s bitumen resources are fully harnessed for industrial and infrastructural development, I constituted a nine-member Ministerial Bitumen Development Committee on 31 January 2020.
The Committee carried out an inventory of internal existing infrastructure; compiled available geological information; re-established contact with previous interested companies and developed a framework for transparent allocation of the Bitumen resources.
“An important part of the Committee’s recommendations was to finalize the process of engaging a Transaction Advisor to ensure the concession process is open, transparent and in accordance with global best practices as enshrined in the Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act, 2007. The Bureau of Public Procurement, issued a notification of no-objection on 16th June, 2021.
“Subsequently, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development issued a letter of award on 11th November, 2021 to PricewaterhouseCoopers to act as its Transaction Advisor and Program Manager for the concessioning of bitumen blocks to potential investors.”