Osita Okechukwu, a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Enugu State, has revealed on a Lagos-based TV channel this morning that the federal government has finalised plans to revive the coal mines in Enugu.
He stated that an agreement has been reached with a Chinese firm to invest in the mines. He claimed that when the industry is revived it would provide up to 400,000 jobs.
Mining in the Iva Valley area of Enugu started in 1917 and ground to a halt when the Nigerian Civil War started in 1967. Enugu is also known as “Coal City” because of the large number of coal deposits in the mines around the area.
Several attempts have been made to revive the mines since after the Civil War but have all failed. Nigerian coal production reached its peak in the 1950s.
Coal can be an alternative source of power generation through coal-fired plants, but production comes with environmental pollution risks, which, if not managed with care, can create the sort of environmental damage oil production has brought to Niger Delta communities. However, there are technologies and techniques for “clean” production of coal.