The Federal Government will sign the Memorandum of Understanding with a Russian firm for the revitalization of the multi-billion naira Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill, in Kogi State, by January 2020.
The Minister of Mines and Steel, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, who disclosed this on Monday, said the Federal Government meant business in bringing back on stream the steel rolling mill which was down since the late President Shehu Shagari regime.
The Minister who spoke during his facility tour of the National Steel Raw Material Exploration Agency in Kaduna State said that funds for the revitalization of the steel mill has already been set aside.
Adegbite noted while addressing the management staff of the agency that, once the Russian contractors to handle the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill are identified, the MoU would be signed and work would commence earnestly.
The Minister said that a committee has been set up to kick start the project and then, assigned the Director-General of the National Steel Raw material Agency, Umar Hassan to nominate two persons to be part of the committee, saying that the agency was critical to the Ajaokuta project.
Adegbite said, “This agency is invaluable towards the resuscitation or development of Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills. As you all know, the President is making sure that we resuscitation Ajaokuta Steel, that Ajaokuta should come back on stream.
“We have taken the first step. Talks are on with the original builders, a Russian company, and MoU Drafts are being studied by both sides.
“Hopefully, in January 2020, we will probably sign the MoU once the contractors are identified from the Russian side, the funds are already in place, the work will start.
“While we are still waiting as being promised for the two to three years agreement period to fire up Ajaokuta, there are a lot of activities that must start simultaneously”.
The NSRMEA Director General, Umar Hassan, had earlier in his address, said the agency saddled with the responsibility of mining and exploration in the country, was constrained by inadequate skills, inadequate project vehicles, modelling software as well as dilapidated offices.