BusinessDay

Ajaokuta Steel, Ore Mining Company ready for technical audit

The Federal Government has confirmed that the management of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL), and the National Iron Ore Mining Company Limited (NIOMCO), have put measures in place to ensure the success of the technical audit expected to be carried out on the two companies by a team from Russia.

The permanent secretary in the ministry of mines and steel development, Oluwatoyin Akinlade, stated this following her recent two-day working visit to the companies to observe their level of preparation for the technical audit.

A statement from the ministry said the minister during a meeting with the management and staff of ASCL and NIOMCO, commended their commitment to keeping the companies’ infrastructure in good shape, and the environment habitable in spite of the challenges confronting them.

She reassured the Federal Government’s commitment to resuscitating the companies, adding that the minister, Olamilekan Adegbite, and the minister of state, Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, were working towards the dream of the two companies commencing full operation.

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Stating that “Ajaokuta is the future and the bedrock of Nigeria’s development,” Akinlade noted that its resuscitation must be done, and can be done.”

She, however, observed that “Ajaokuta without NIOMCO is like a “car without tyres,” hence, efforts are being made to resuscitate both companies at the same time to achieve the desired result.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in October 2019 in Sochi, Russia, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation on the resuscitation and completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company. One of the strategies in that process is the technical audit of the installed equipment.

The permanent secretary urged the staff to sharpen their skills to meet up with the upcoming task, as well as to continue to maintain the good industrial harmony, assuring them that efforts are being made to address some of the welfare challenges, especially salary arrears.

While briefing the permanent secretary, the sole administrator of NIOMCO, Nkechika Augustus, said the mandate of the company was to provide the basic raw material for iron and steel production, and that NIOMCO was required to supply the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited with 2.15 million tons of iron ore concentrate with iron (FE) content of 63 to 64 percent in its first phase of operation during which it is expected to produce 1.3 million tons of steel.

He stressed the need for the completion of the rehabilitation of the plants and the acquisition of additional mining equipment.