THE federal government is set to begin the bidding process for prospective investors who want to explore the vast bitumen deposits in the country. Kayode Fayemi, minister of solid minerals development, disclosed this during a working visit to bitumen-bearing communities in Agbabu area of Ondo State.
According to a statement by Olayinka Oyebode, minister’s special assistant on media, on Sunday, May 8, the minister said the licence bidding would be for serious investors with proven work and financial plans.
Fayemi said the licence issuing process would be completed before the end of the year. He also assured the communities of the government’s readiness to protect their interest through the right policies and regulations.
Nigeria is reputed to have the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world, spanning approximately 120 kilometres. Fayemi, who was accompanied by top officials of the ministry, checked samples of bitumen in Agbabu, Ilubirin and Lado.
He later had interactive sessions with leaders of the communities, where he assured them of government’s support. “We want your mineral to work for you; and we are fully ready to assist your communities to ensure that you get the best from the process,” Fayemi said.
The minister said the Federal Government would partner the states, investors and the communities to ensure that the enabling environment was created. He assured them that within the next six months, massive work would commence on the bitumen project.
Explaining some of the policies that would be put in place, Fayemi said that emphasis would be placed on exploration and exploitation of mineral resources. Lamenting that about 80 percent of asphaltic materials used for road construction in the country were still being imported in spite of the vast bitumen deposits, he said the government would focus on ensuring that only serious investors were given licences. – Punch
— May 9, 2016 @ 14:55 GMT