Firm begins exploitation of bitumen in Ondo
Targets 50,000 metric tonnes monthly
Finally, an indigenous company, South-West Bitumen Limited (SWB), has commenced modular exploitation of bitumen deposits in the southern part of Ondo State.
The firm, which secured a 25-year renewable operational mining licence for the exploitation of the mineral deposits, said it had already deployed initial processing and mining equipment to the operational base located at Lamudifa in Irele Local Council of the state.
The representative of the company, Oluwatominiyi Adeiya, at the weekend, said earth-moving equipment like bulldozer, excavator and wheel loaders had been brought for the mining of the bitumen.
Adeiya, who described the process as a modular one, disclosed that unlike exploitation of petroleum, the bitumen in the state could be excavated from the top soil and taken to the yard for processing.
The mining engineer at the site, Mr. Wilfred Akinyeke, said the firm would deliver 20 tonnes of bitumen monthly at the first instance, adding that when it is stabilised, an output of 50,000 tonnes monthly will be realised.
Also, the state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, said the Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration had been pursuing the exploitation of the bitumen and the establishment of the deep seaport, noting that the bitumen exploitation had started taking shape with the assurance of its reality, stressing that this is the first time any government in the state will be expending resources on the exploitation.
He said mere sighting the equipment, one would think it was for construction unless there is the technical knowledge to understand their functions in mining.
“What they are trying to do is a pilot project. This is the first time any company will expend so much on this project. This is the first time a company will take the licence and efforts and commitment would be seen unlike in the past where people take the licence and go home to sleep.
“You know they cannot just jump over several fences and we are almost sailing through our investment destination. As a state, what we require is the bitumen exploitation and the deep seaport. We are into this now and it is very reassuring that Governor Akeredolu will not retreat until this is achieved.
“I know with what they have done, more and more firms will be ready to invest into this. It’s not easy to deploy this kind of technology and equipment. In a matter of six, seven months, we will be getting large production of bitumen from here,” Ojogo said
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment and Development, Mr. Boye Oyewumi, described the development as a statement of result and not statement of efforts.
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