Coal Deposits - Some Africa countries like Nigeria is blessed with coal rich states especially Enugu which is known as the “the coal city” because of its vast coal deposits, other states include; Benue, Kogi, Delta, Kwara, Plateau, Abia, Anambra, Bauchi, Edo, Ondo, Adamawa and Imo.
Fossil fuels came up as a result of the remains of dead animals and plants million years ago; an example of such fuels is coal. Coal is a fossil fuel and it’s a non-renewable energy source because it takes millions of years to form and cannot be renewed by men once depleted.
Coal is combustible (catch fire and burn easily) and consists mainly of 65-95% carbon with a small percentage of hydrogen, sulphur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Coal is a sedimentary rock from peat; a peat is a brownish (turf) material which contains some decomposed vegetable matter forming a deposit.
Due to the rocks pressure on top which creates heat causes the complex hydrocarbon compounds in the peat to be broken down into different component, with the lighter component which is gaseous (like methane) is forced out from the deposit, with the heavier component becoming richer in carbon undergoing different stages which is as follows; plant debris to peat, sub-bituminous coal, bituminous coal, anthracite coal, lignite and graphite which is a a pure carbon mineral
There are two types of coal mining which includes:
a. Surface mining is used when the coal seam is near the surface
b. Underground mining when the coal is deposited far beneath the earth surface and includes
i. Room-and-pillar mining and
ii Longwall mining
During the coal mining era, the method used in the Western part of Africa especially in Nigeria was the underground mining which is quite inexpensive when compared to other mining methods but has its own disadvantages such as methane explosions, underground water flooding etc.
And even years after the operation, it has resulted in landslides in most operational areas, and this poses a great risk impact in the health and safety of humans.
Some of the functional and non-functional mines (low production of coal and those that no longer produce coal) in Nigeria are;
The mining and production of coal were at its peak in the 1950s, but unfortunately, after the civil war, coal production in Nigeria declined drastically and with the diversion to crude oil, the mining of coal has been removed from the Nigerian natural resources limelight.
Uses of coal