Coal is classified as one of the strategic minerals in Nigeria. It is a flammable black rock used as a solid fossil fuel. It is mainly made up of 65-95% carbon and also contains hydrogen, sulphur, oxygen and nitrogen. In Nigeria, coal can be found in the Middle belt and South-eastern regions of the country ( Kogi, Benue, Gombe and Enugu).
Synonymous with coal in Nigeria is Enugu – Enugu State. ‘Coal city’ as it is popularly referred reflects the abundance of the mineral resource in the area. A reasonable estimate in these regions is put at nearly 3billion tons of indicated reserves in 17 identified coal fields and over 600 million tonnes of proven reserves. Coal has many important uses worldwide. The most significant use of coal is in electricity generation, steel production, cement manufacturing and as a liquid fuel. Other important users of coal include alumina refineries, paper manufacturing, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Several chemical products can be produced from the by-products of coal. Refined coal tar is used in the manufacture of chemicals, such as creosote oil, naphthalene, phenol, and benzene. Ammonia gas recovered from coke ovens is used to manufacture ammonia salts, nitric acid and agricultural fertilizers. Thousands of different products have coal or coal by-products as components: soap, aspirins, solvents, dyes, plastics and fibres, such as rayon and nylon.