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General News of Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Source: www.mynigeria.com

Ajaokuta Steel company will be completed before 2023 - Minister

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite says the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited will function at its fullest before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2023.

He said while speaking at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja that the federal government has made efforts to contact the Russian company that built the steel industry to come to Nigeria to conduct a technical audit of the company.

He added that they were expected to come to Nigeria last year (2020) but for the coronavirus pandemic which was at its peak.

NAN recalls that the minister had earlier said that a 60-man team from Russia would arrive in Nigeria to start technical audit of Ajaokuta steel.

The agreement on how to revive the steel company was reached during a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Vladimir Putin in Russia in 2019.

The Russian government had nominated TPE, the original builder of Ajaokuta Steel Company, to conduct a technical audit of the steel company to ascertain the level of work remaining to be completed on the steel company, NAN said.

However, the minister said the main purpose of the steel company when it was conceived and built was to produce liquid steel, adding that the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) was set up at Itakpe in Kogi to feed it with iron ore.

He explained that liquid steel could be used for building aeroplane and car engine parts, among others.

“Ajaokuta Steel Company has not been able to produce liquid steel since it was built –the little hurdles we need to address.

“The steel company has worked in the past whereby billet were imported to produce reinforcement but that was not what Ajaokuta steel was built for,” he said.

He also said the ministry had recently trained some youths in the metal sub-sector on national development to ensure human capital development with special emphasis on vibrant metals operators.

He said the workshop was an appropriate strategy meant to launch and mainstream youths into the sector, adding that the three weeks intensive workshop was to work towards the development of the sector.

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