Nigeria imports bitumen for road construction despite her huge reserve of 42.74 billion metric tons of the mineral.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, said this in Abuja yesterday at a press conference on the ‘Concession of the Delineated Nigerian Bitumen Blocks’, preparatory to the process of local bitumen production in Nigeria.
He said the country had not explored its huge deposit of bitumen.
“Once we begin to produce bitumen locally, we’ll have a stable price that does not fluctuate with the exchange rate,” he said.
He said Nigeria had a huge infrastructural deficit with regard to paved roads as only about 60,000km of 200,000km of road networks was paved.
“This considerable road infrastructure deficit presents an inherent demand for bitumen. Hence, the development of bitumen will lead to import substitution, local content development and increased value addition of the mining industry to the domestic economy, thereby creating jobs and generating revenue for the government,” he said.
Adegbite noted that the bitumen in Nigeria is high-grade and easy to mine due to its closeness to the surface, and that it had attracted many prospective investors.