The FG has announced that it has set in motion machinery for a technical audit team from Russia for conductive operations with the Management of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) and National Iron Ore Mining Company Limited (NIOMCO).
This was disclosed by the Ministry of Information in a statement on Monday. It added that the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, paid a two-day working visit to the two companies on December 2, 2020 to analyze the preparations.
The Ministry of Mines, in a press conference, said that the management of National Iron Ore Mining Company Limited (NIOMCO) and Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited had kept the “infrastructures of the companies in good shape and the environment habitable in spite of the daunting challenges confronting them.”
“Ajaokuta is the future, the bedrock of Nigeria development,” Dr. Akinlade said, adding that the resuscitation “must be done, and can be done.”
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She noted that Ajaokuta without NIOMCO was like a “car without tyres,” hence efforts were being made to resuscitate both companies at the same time to achieve the desired result.
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NIOMCO Permanent Secretary, Mr. Nkechika Augustus, disclosed that the company was required to supply the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited with 2.15 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate with iron (FE) content of 63 – 64% in its first phase of operation during which it is expected to produce 1.3 million tonnes of steel.
“The need to fully complete the rehabilitation of the plants and also acquire additional mining equipment early cannot be overemphasized. This is because to meet the first phase of ASCL’s production level alone, NIOMCO should produce and process seven million tonnes of raw iron ore annually,” she said.
The facilities inspected by the Permanent Secretary included blocks of flats for residential accommodation for the coming Technical Audit Team, office accommodation, transport facilities, medical centre, equipment store, machine & tools shop, among others.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in May that the Federal Government had inaugurated the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Implementation Team in a bid to diversify the economy away from volatile oil revenue. According to the SGF, Buhari’s regime is focused on making the Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASC) West Africa’s largest fully integrated producer, and most importantly, accelerating industrialization in steel-related industries.
- In July, the Senate expressed its readiness to work with the executive arm in reviving the Ajaokuta Steel Company project. This was disclosed by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, despite the President’s rejection of a bill passed by the Senate seeking US$1bn from the Excess Crude Account to fund the completion of the Steel Company.
- The FG had stated in January 2020 that the Russian government and Afreximbank would provide up to US$1.46bn to develop Ajaokuta Steel. This was after Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and President Muhammadu Buhari signed an MOU in October 2019 at the Russia-Africa Summit to pursue the completion of all abandoned projects initiated by both nations.