The federal government has requested the Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu to research into coal production with a view to making it less harmful to the environment.
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who gave the charge in Enugu during the inauguration of projects at the institute, said President Muhammadu Buhari desired to return the coal sector as alternative revenue source and creation of jobs for Nigerian youths.Onu stated that the institute was better placed to conduct the research because of its strategic location and the quantity of coal available in Enugu State.
Lamenting the untapped huge deposits of coal, which he noted, could boost the country’s earnings, he said: “We have a lot of coal in Nigeria and we are not using it. Enugu gained prominence because of coal mining.
“So, we want PRODA because of its location to do a lot of research here on the many ways we can use coal so that it will not be harmful to the environment.”He stated that Nigeria has the capacity to produce industrial machine spare parts including those of aircraft through the PRODA Enugu, stressing that it was gratifying that the institute had come alive to contribute to the diversification mantra of the Federal Government.
“I have seen the progress so far made in this institute, but we want them to do more. We want PRODA to be a centre of excellence”, he said, adding that he was happy with the institute’s induction furnace project, which has the capacity to produce industrial machines and aircraft spare parts.
He said with the two furnaces, the institute could produce non-ferrous materials including aluminum and stainless steel and challenged the institute to continue its research on the production of lithium batteries with a view to commercialising the findings.
On its pencil production project, Onu said he was satisfied that production had finally started on the project, saying, “We have all seen pencils produced by PRODA and this effort is quite commendable.”Onu also charged PRODA to research into the production of all forms of pencils, including beautification pencils, insisting that government was not only interested in the institute producing pencils in commercial quantity, but a transfer of its research findings to Nigerians.