ONDO State Government may have recorded a major breakthrough in its quest for economic stability as arrangements have begun for the exploitation of bitumen, being one of the mineral resources the state has in commercial quantity.
Briefing newsmen on the development in Akure yesterday, Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, said government had secured the licence to exploit the commodity through Beecon Nigeria Limited, a concern where the government has near complete ownership.
He said government had before now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an American company, Liquefied Resources and was also expected to sign a Joint Operating Agreement with the same outfit for the immediate exploitation of bitumen which the state has in large deposit on locations that stretches across Ondo- Edo and Ondo-Ogun boundaries.
The commissioner informed that officials of Liquefied Resources, led by its President, Thomas Cooley are already in the country and are expected to meet with the government tomorrow to finalise all arrangements regarding the joint agreement.
The officials would visit the proposed sites and also set a date for takeoff of the proposed bitumen extraction and upgrading plant.
As part of the agreement, Liquefied Resources is expected to wholly fund the project, even as the commissioner insists that there will be exploitation of bitumen in the state at no cost to the government, adding that the Joint Operating Agreement will regulate profit sharing among the handling company and the government.
The government’s spokesperson described the operation as very expensive and more demanding than exploiting oil, he, however, said Liquefied Resources was capable of handling it, especially with the availability of new technology at its disposal to handle such project.
Speaking on the projected impact of the development on the state, Akinmade said the exploitation of the commodity will generate massive employment which he said will be a consolidation on the jobs being provided for the youths in the state through agriculture.
Emphasising the capability of government to solve youth unemployment through the project as well as its ongoing job creation initiatives through agriculture, Akinmade said the bitumen comes up with accompanying crude oil, which will in no small measure affect the economy of the state positively.