Ondo state government on Friday said in the next two years, it would be on the world map for bitumen exploitation as arrangements have been concluded to begin processing of the natural resources in the state.

The Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Prof Bayonile Ademodi dropped the hints in Akure at a meeting with Licencee Bitumen Companies Operating in the state.

Ademodi, who said some companies had been licensed to begin production in the state, noted that the essence of the meeting was to receive presentations from licencee bitumen companies on the level of work done in line with their work plan for bitumen exploitation development.

He reiterated that the present administration under the leadership of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu was committed to providing bitumen investors, the necessary conducive atmosphere to thrive in the state.

Ademodi said, “Since the beginning of the present administration in Ondo state, bitumen exploitation project have been put in the frontline.

“This is the first time the ministry would be established for the purpose of overseeing the development of bitumen project in Ondo state.

“The major task of this ministry is to prepare grounds for the successful operation of these bitumen companies and the host community. But the ministry has taken it upon itself as a major task to develop a conducive operational environment for the bitumen licensee companies. So we are fully engaged with the community.

“I can assure the whole world that in two years time, Ondo state would be on the world map in terms of bitumen exploitation”.

In his welcome address,the acting Permanent Secretary in the ministry,E.O Ogunsanmi,an engineer,said the programme was borne out of the ministry’s avowed commitment to ensure that bitumen exploitation in state was devoid of crisis which is usually associated with mining, particularly, crude oil as we have it in the Niger Delta Region.

Ogunsanmi who also reiterated that the state government was committed to the industrialization of the state and bitumen development was considered as a veritable means to transform the state from purely a civil service state to an industrial hub in Nigeria.

According to him, “The present administration has improved the road infrastructure, and this again will aid the movement of your products to the market”.

The Director, Project Manager of Kabara Mining Nigeria Limited, one of the companies that bid for the exploitation, Anit Wiener, expressed the readiness of his firm to begin work in the area.

Wiener, however, charged the state government to prepare a ground with the host community for the commencement of the project saying that the company could not do it alone without the support of the state government and the community.

He said, “We have bitumen licence that we have intent to establish, plant for separation and to finally take the bitumen from the ground for the prosperity of the country, and the first exploitation would commence this year”.

Source: Mining Ng