Scraping, abandoning Ajaokuta Steel Company will be a waste — D-G

The Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi State was envisaged to serve as the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialisation
Prof. Linus Asuquo, the Director-General, National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC), says scraping or abandoning Ajaokuta Steel Company will be a great waste.

Asuquo made the observation while addressing newsmen on Monday in Abuja.

He said that reviving the steel company would be the best option for the country rather than neglecting the project to waste year on year.

He said that lots of money had been spent on the construction of the magnificent Complex, while abandoning it would be suicidal.

“We should not play with Ajaokuta Steel Company; I think a lot of politics has been played on it over the years, the amount spent on importation of metals on yearly basis by Nigeria is huge.

“We are spending billions of naira to import metals being used for our railway construction, if we have Ajaokuta steel company working, there will be no need importing steel.

He said that the company could create massive jobs for the youth, generate power for the country, among others if revived.

He also said that materials such as iron ore for producing steel were available across the country in large quantum.

Asuquo said that coal and iron ore needed for iron making had been researched by NMDC, adding that only foreign coal would be needed to blend with Nigeria coal for steel making.

“Coal is one of the materials needed for iron making and lots of research have been done on that by the centre.

“Unfortunately, even though we have coal in abundance such as Enugu coal, our coal are not prime for coking coal being used for steel making; what I mean is that we cannot have 100 per cent coke from our coal.

“From our research, we can blend Lafia Obi coal with imported coal for our coke for steel production.

“I will not agree with some Nigerians that said that our blast furnace for steel production is now obsolete; it can still produce steel; Russia and India are still using blast furnace, we can modify it into sections to function adequately. (NAN)

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