ETA-Zuma Mining Advocates Concessioning Of Nigerian Railways

Hauwa Gidado, Abuja

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Nigeria’s largest commercial coal miner and an indigenous exploration company, ETA-Zuma Mining and industries Limited has advocated for the concessioning of Nigerian railways to facilitate the transportation of Solid minerals.

In an interview with Voice of Nigeria ,the Chief Executive Officer of ETA-ZUMA, Dr. Innocent Ezuma said; ‘I believe that this initiative will enhance solid minerals exportation, thereby significantly contributing to the country’s GDP.’

The biggest challenge for the export is the railway, the trucking.If you truck from where you get the coal to the seaport, it will cost as much as the turnage of coal costs. So If you can get a government to give concession we can build a railway by ourselves, concession the rail line.”

Dr Ezuma emphasised that transporting coal by road is not an efficient method and unsustainable .

He said; “It’s practically impossible for the government to continue maintaining the roads, when all the goods are transported through the road. It’s a huge waste, because everything you produce, you truck it through the road.

It’s not sustainable. I will advise that the government should to deal with rail construction, and inland water.We have to do it to the extent where it is possible to also use the water way, as a matter of good transportation also needs to be developed.”

While commending the Nigerian Government on the unveiling of the Mining Marshals, Dr. Ezuma noted that boosting investment in the coal mining industry involved a multifaceted approach aimed at ensuring sustainable growth, regulatory compliance, and environmental responsibility.

“And again, not just in a weeding these people off, there are also high-powered individuals in the government who are supporting them. There are also legitimate big corporations that are buying their proceeds. This has to be investigated and those people brought to books, otherwise, where there are buyers, there will always be sellers, which is continuously fueling the illegal mining activity. So, it should be a multi-pronged approach if you want to clean the system.”

Dr. Ezuma questioned the global initiative aiming to phase out coal by 2050 in favour of cleaner energy sources, pointing out the contradiction where countries advocate for such measures while continuing to rely on coal themselves.

While highlighting the vision and mission of the company, he gave insight on some its contributions to the growth of the mining industry.

He said; “So we should try as much as possible to use our coal to the maximum capacity before that time. But I feel that all those developed countries who are talking about not using coal in Africa should first abolish everything they do with coal and their coal mining industries.

“Because you can’t tell us to stop mining coal when you yourselves are building coal-fired power plants. Almost all the countries that have developed did so based on their coal resources. Germany built its economy on coal in the Ruhr Valley, as did England, the Americans, the Chinese, the Russians, and the Ukrainians. They built their economies on their coal reserves because coal is the mother of all industrial minerals. From coal, you get fertilizers, spirits, steel, cement, tiles—everything. So, when they have developed their economies, today they are telling us not to use our own. I do not think it is balanced advice.”

We are the pioneer miners of Coal and developers of other Solid Minerals. ETA-Zuma Mining and industries Limited is a company that is providing premium solutions to businesses and primary and secondary economic sector of Nigeria. We support businesses like Steel, the Zuma Steel, which is the former Jos Steel Rolling company,” he said.

Dr. Ezuma said; “We develop our projects, like 1,200 Mega Watts Coal fire power project in Kogi State, 400 combined cycle gas fire power project in Egbaoma, we conduct exploration activities from start to finish, We have laboratories, mineral analysing laboratories, core drilling machines that can core the mineral, any type of mineral. Presently we are mining in Kogi State. We are the biggest commercial Coal miners in Nigeria and the pioneer Nigerian company Coal miners”

Speaking on the inspiration that led him to embark on a career in coal mining, he noted his deep-rooted belief in the pivotal role of coal as a cornerstone of energy production.

He said; “Our investment into the coal mining business was organic. Actually, I am a diasporian; I lived in Russia and Ukraine for almost 20 years, where I was involved in the steel business. When you work in steel, coal is a major component, along with other materials. So, we were dealing with coal and steel, and then we came to Nigeria to give back under the NIDOE, Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Europe chapter, which was actually inaugurated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.He encouraged us to come back home and help the country by bringing our investments. He came to Europe and brought together the most progressive Nigerians in Europe for a meeting in England. In that meeting, he promised to facilitate our return and investment in Nigeria. I was one of those who heeded that call and decided to come to Nigeria to invest in the steel sector, which was my major business. I brought my friends, and we met with the President several times. He gave us one hundred percent support.”

He narrated some of the difficulties he encountered when acquiring his company, explaining that these challenges ultimately steered him toward the coal mining industry.

We procured one of the inland rolling mills which is the Jos Steel Rolling Mill which is now the Zuma steel Rolling company. Unfortunately, we are not able to run this steel mill economically and profitably. So, we decided to find out what were these reasons we were not able to run it well, because we have all it takes, we have the money, we have the expertise, we have the desire, the will. There’s no power. There is rail but they were not functional and it is not the standard gauge. So, we were able to go to the government and inform them, which actually facilitated them to award a contract to Chinese to repair those rail lines.”

He identified power as a major challenges in businesses, saying leveraging coal as an alternative source help in solving power challenge.

“Then the next biggest challenge is the power. We found out that it’s really a huge problem, So we decided to take the bull by the horn and in our quest to resolve this problem, we decided to go into coal mining after studying the nearest gas pipeline, which is Ajaokuta and taking that gas from Ajaokuta to Jos is like entirely a bigger project that will take years and years for it to happen. So we decided to find the coal, we invested heavily in exploration and explored all over Nigeria and discovered new resources, which hitherto had not been discovered by any exploration team. The coal we are mining today is 100% discovery of our efforts, discovered by us”.

“We are mining the coal for our coal fired power plant which when completed, would be using all the coal that we mine. At the moment, we are developing a capacity in the coal mining.So we are selling this coal to cement manufacturers, majorly ceramics, industries, paper manufacturers and .When our power plants would be a fully operation, all the coal that we mined would be going there,” he explained.

Dr. Ezuma affirmed his commitment to implementing sustainable practices within the industry with the aim of balancing economic prosperity with environmental stewardship.

He highlighted some of the significant impact his company has on the nation’s GDP through creating jobs and fostering innovation .

In my company, only in the mining business we have more than a thousand people working. I am beneficiary earning their living, taking out of the street and teaching them how to use these machines, how to repair them, how to operate, how to mine. So, there’s a huge impact. being given by one organization in terms of human development,growing our GDP, conserving our foreign exchange. Because before now at Zuma, coal was being imported in Nigeria.

“Today, Nigeria has become a destination for coal mining that foreign companies come to ask us as to sell coal to them. So, we have to develop a lot more capacity so that we can mine and export this coal,” Dr. Ezuma added.

 

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere

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