By BASHIR ADEFAKA
Setting the pace for industrialization through processing of Nigeria mineral in line with Executive Order 5 is a realistic step for rapid industrialization.
This was made known by the Director General/Chief Executive, National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC), Jos, Prof Linus Asuquo while interacting with Newsmen in Abuja during the weekend, according to Mr. Sunny Eweama, Head of Press and Public Relations, NMDC.
Prof Asuquo while responding to questions on ‘the role of Local Mineral Processing in Reducing Huge Importation Bills, NMDC – a focal point’.
The DG/CE said that hitherto Nigeria has spent so much in the importation of processed minerals there by incurring huge debt which would have been avoided by proper utilization of the Minerals Processing Pilot Plat at NMDC, Jos.
The NMDC Helmsman said that the Minerals Processing Plant in his Agency was a Federal Government / UNIDO collaborative Pilot Plant aimed at processing virtually all the minerals in Nigeria and West African sub region.
He decried the poor patronage by government agencies corporate organizations and individuals which has mitigated the maximum utilization of the plant.
He highlighted the indispensable role mineral processing plays in the mineral production value chain.
Prof Asuquo reminded the Newsmen that the Minerals Processing Pilot Plant in NMDC is one of the three Pilot Plants in Africa. According to him the rest two plants are located in South Africa and Egypt.
The DG made it clear that each mineral after passing through the exploration and mining stage can only have value when it passes through the processing stage.
In his words ‘It is at the processing stage we either upgrade or reduce the component in mineral ores according to the request of the Clients while expunging the unwanted elements.
He said that the plant has the capacity to process ferrous and non ferrous materials to meet international standard.
Asuquo reiterated his commitment to ensure that NMDC provides the processed minerals/ materials needed to keep Nigeria on the wheels of industrialization.
On the issue of collaboration with other organizations to ensure that local content becomes a veritable tool of industrialization in Nigeria.
The DG pointed out that recently, NMDC had collaborations with Defense Industries corporation of Nigeria, (DICON) Nigeria Defense Academy(NDA), University of Jos, Akwanga College of Education, NESREA etc.
These collaborations according to him were aimed at reducing the cost of materials importation and cost of funding manpower development in Nigeria.
The collaborations with some of these Agencies have in recent time attracted the government to strengthen the partnership in order to promote industrialization the DG explained.
Prof Asuquo called on the government, corporate organizations and individuals to utilize the potentials of the Mineral Processing Plant available at NMDC while calling on the government to increase the budgetary allocation to NMDC for it to realize its vision as an Excellent-Based Research and Development Centre in Africa.