The Minister of mines and steel development, Mr. Kayode Fayemi has stated that efforts are on top gear to make the Ajaukuta steel company limited, saying $1.2 billion is needed to achieve total rehabilitation, completion and commissioning of the plant.
Of the total sum required, $513m is earmarked for rehabilitation while $687 million is to be expended for balance of external infrastructure.
This was disclosed yesterday when the minister appeared before the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on power, steel development and metallurgy for the 2018 budget defence of the ministry.
According to Fayemi, illegal minning is still a big issue in the country but the ministry is working with state governments and other stakeholders to eliminate it and also make sure that offenders are being pushed to face the wrath of the law.
He informed that the federal government has put in place measures to provide tools and equipments to artisan miners, through the Bank of Industry.
LEADERSHIP reports that the Ajaukuta steel company is being developed in three phases and first phase of 1.3million tonnes steel production has reached about 98 percent completion before the contract was terminated in 1996.
It was revealed urging the budget defence that the federal government was compelled to stop further capital development on the plant due to lack of funds and political will.
However, the sole administrator of the company, Sumaila Abdul-Akaba while fielding questions from lawmakers, said during the meeting that following the technical audit of the plant in 2010, it was found that $1.2b, if released, would make the plant operational.
According him, among other problems, what is also needed is to sort out issues that emanated from the London Court of Arbitration and insisted that once this is achieved, a 55 Mega Watts plant of the company will commence operation in April, 2018.