Minister decries $3.3billion steel importation
Says Nigeria has three billion iron ore deposit
Minister of Mines and Steel, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has lamented that $3. 3 billion worth of steel is imported into Nigeria yearly despite the deposit of three million iron ore reserves and 48 minerals in the country.
The minister spoke at the weekend in Abuja at the opening of the 46th annual conference of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE). He said the huge amount of foreign exchange spent on the importation of the minerals could have been re-directed to grow the local industry.
According to Fayemi, Nigeria has 48 minerals and recently nickel, an important mineral for steel production was also discovered in Kaduna State.
He maintained that the ministry’s roadmap for the sector was designed to address the economic diversification agenda of the administration, as well as job creation. He therefore, welcomed the outcome of the conference.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, urged a change of approach to the existing situation where 90 per cent of the technology powering Nigeria’s economy was imported.
Onu, who was represented by the Director General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. DanAsumi Ibrahim, urged the conference to work on how minerals such as bentonite, barite, and gypsum could be produced and commercialised in the country because they are still being imported.
“Nigeria’s calcium carbonate can be treated, to remove the impurities through innovations in our tertiary institutions instead of importing all the way from China,” he urged.
President of the NSChE, Prof Emenike Wami, said though chemical engineers were well known for their roles in the oil and gas sector, they were also responsible for value addition to other mineral resources.
Wami stated that Nigeria processes enough mineral resources to be economically buoyant and that the nation wouldn’t have gone into recession if enough attention had been paid to these resources before now.
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