Sam Ikeotuonye 24 August 2016, Sweetcrude. Lagos – Solid Minerals Development Minister, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, says Nigeria would in the next five years have begun reduction of iron ore in addition to such other solid minerals as lead, zinc, bitumen, nickel, coal and gold at a serious scale.
He disclosed this as he also announced that Nigeria would be requiring investments of $7 billion in mining and steel over the next decade to help diversify the nation’s economy and shore up Federal Government revenue.
Nigeria’s annual steel demand currently stands at 6.8 million metric tons while annual national production – majorly from scrap iron – is only a third of this figure.
According to Fayemi: “About $5 billion will kick-start the mining sector. In two to five years, we want to have started production of iron ore, lead, zinc, bitumen, nickel, coal and gold at a serious scale.”
He said Nigeria would require about $2 billion to complete the abandoned Ajaokuta Steel project in Kogi State, which is largely regards as the potential bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialisation.
Minister of State for Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Abubakar Bawa-Bwari, stated recently that the Federal Government had spent over $10 billion on the Ajaokuta Steel project in the last 35 years.
Bawa-Bwari, who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation in Abuja, was speaking in the back drop of raging controversy over Federal Government’s recent deal with an Indian company, Global Infrastructure Holdings Limited, on the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the National Iron Ore Mining Company, NIOMCO, Itakpe, also in Kogi State. NIOMCO is designed to feed Ajaokuta Steel Company with the requisite raw materials to produce steel, but both firms have made little progress.