Nigeria to begin operations in parts of Ajaokuta, NIOMCO

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

21 May 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA - The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada has disclosed that strategies have been put in place by the Federal government to operationalise the completed sections at Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and the National Iron-Ore Mining Company, Itakpe both in Kogi State.

Sada who made this disclosure on Monday during a visit to the Kogi state Governor, Idris Wada, as part of a working visit to the Coal Mine of Eta-Zuma Group West Africa Limited at Okobo in Anpka Local government, added that the proposal is awaiting the approval of President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to the Minister, the completed sections to be operationalised at Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited include : the Thermal Power Plant, the Rolling Mills, Engineering Section and the Metallurgical Training Centre. While at the National Iron-0re Mining Company, the Mine and the Concentrate Lines are to be operationalised.

Arc. Sada disclosed that the foreigners who started the construction and installation of the two companies had indicated their interest to come back and digitalise the analogue system at the two companies in line with global best practices.

The Minister further disclosed that judgement of the case at the International Court of Arbitration at the Hague, Switzerland on the two companies would be given before the end of May 2012.

In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Capt., Idris Wada commended the Minister Sada for the steps he had taken to turn around the nation’s fortune in the Minerals and Metals sector in line with the transformation agenda of the present administration.

Governor Wada said Kogi State Government was ready to partner with the Federal Government, Eta-Zuma Group West Africa Limited and other investors towards the development of the solid mineral endowments in the state.

Captain Wada said he was glad to hear from the Minister the plans of the Federal Government to operationalise some sections at the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and the National Iron-Ore Mining Company. He said when that is realised millions of jobs would be created for the people of Kogi State which is in line with his administration’s agenda.

The Governor assured that his state would give the necessary support and cooperation towards the operationalisation of the two companies.

The Governor and his team also accompanied the Minister of Mines and Steel Development to the Okobo Coal Mine of Eta-Zuma Group West Africa Limited in Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State.

While conducting the Minister and the Kogi State Governor round the Coal Mine at Okobo, the Chairman of Eta- Zuma Group West Africa Limited, Dr. Innocent O. Ezuma disclosed that what prompted his company to venture into Coal exploration and exploitation is to see how the resource could be used to address the challenge of power generation and supply in Nigeria.

Dr. Ezuma disclosed that their initial exploration efforts of Coal had revealed over 380 million tonnes while their license was for 100 million tonnes. He added that their company was preparing to apply for additional licenses for more tonnes from the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

The Chairman further disclosed that within the next 8- 10 months the company would continue with exploration activities to prove Coal resource of over 4 billion tonnes at its mine sites in the Kogi State.

Dr. Ezuma thanked the Federal and Kogi State Governments and the host community for their support and cooperation which had led to their succesfull operation, adding that the company would continue to live up to its civic and social responsibilities.

The Chairman requested for Kogi State Government’s assistance in putting asphalt on the 18 kilometre access road to Okobo, their host community which the company constructed.

In his response, the Kogi State Governor said that as part of the State Government’s contribution to encourage the investor and help Okobo community, the State Government would put asphalt on the 18 kilometre road.