By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government at the weekend expressed excitement over a $600 million (N183 billion) investment in an integrated iron ore mining processing and steel production in Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State by African Natural Resources and Mines Limited.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, conveyed government’s excitement during a meeting with officials of the company led by Mr. Raj Gupta.
A statement by the minister’s Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr. Paul Ella Abechi, said the investment would boost the solid minerals sector and the entire economy, which will lead to increased revenue generation and job creation under the diversification policy of the federal government.
Ahmed said: “In a bid to diversify away from oil and increase government revenues, I met this evening with African Natural Resources and Mines Limited led by Mr. Raj Gupta who are investing $600million in an integrated iron ore mining, processing and steel production project in Kagarko Local Government Area, Kaduna State.
“This is about the first major investment in the mining sector in more than two decades. The project will have a capacity of 5.4 metric tonnes per annum and will create 3,500 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs.”
According to her, the steel plant will generate 36 megawatts (mw) of electricity to the national grid to boost the already generated megawatts of power for other economic activities.
According to her, “About 36 megawatts of electricity is to be generated from the waste heat which will increase power supply to the local council to help develop other industries and urbanise the local area. The surplus will also be added to the national grid.”
The minister added that the company’s steel would carry out beneficiation, pelletizing and convert iron into direct used iron for steel manufacturing to galvanise the industrial space into a hub of production of finished goods for local consumption and export.
“The integrated steel manufacturing project has its focal point in mining iron ore, beneficiating, pelletizing and transforming into Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) which is the primary raw material in steel manufacturing,” Ahmed said.
She expressed optimism that the project would massively impact on the local people and the county at large based on the potential it has to transform the socio-economic life of Nigerians.