Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said that the Federal Government is planning to hand over the $4.5bn Ajaokuta steel plant to private investors in 2016.
According to him, construction of the Ajaokuta steel plant, which lies on the Niger River and was supposed to have an installed capacity of five million metric tonnes of steel a year, began in 1979. Work was delayed by the government’s failure to pay the builders, Russia’s Tyazhpromexport, on schedule.
By 2004, when it was taken over by India’s Ispat Industries Limited, it had yet to produce any steel. Ispat’s concession was revoked in 2008 and the government has yet to resolve all outstanding legal issues, he said.
“Ajaokuta steel mill is one of the major issues I have put on the table,” Fayemi said in an interview in Cape Town on Monday. “Under my watch, it will be revived,” he said.
In addition to steel, Fayemi said FG wants to improve the implementation of mining laws, make available better data on Nigeria’s deposits and act to regulate informal mining. He however doesn’t expect significant investment soon due to the global oil price crash.