The need to harness the potential of investing in Mineral and Metal Development in Nigeria has been trumpeted and was also re- echoed by the Director General/ Chief Executive, National Metallurgical Development Centre, Jos, Engr. Prof Linus Asuquo during his interaction with the Media in Jos recently.
The DG/CE said that for Nigeria to come out of the present economic quagmire, there is need for governments at all levels to channel their investments to Mineral and Steel Sector innovation, a statement by Sunny Eweama, Head, Press and Public Relation, NMDC, Jos disclosed.
According to him, the era of oil is fast ending and the earlier government look inward and explore the natural wealth nature has bestowed on Nigeria through Minerals and Steel, the better.
Prof. Asuquo stated that for over 44 Minerals identified so far in Nigeria, less than 10 percent of these Minerals have been explored and utilized, hence the need to prioritize inclusive investment in this sector for rapid industrialization of the country.
He explained that there is a need for governments to take proactive measures to prepare for the economic shock that might occur in the near future, as a result of crude oil extinction, adding categorically, that the only sectors that will serve as shock absorber in such circumstances are Mines and Steel as well as Agriculture.
The NMDC helmsman, called on government and individual investors to utilize the enormous opportunities in the Mines and Steel Sector which according to him is more profitable than the oil sector.
The DG/CE said that NMDC, which has its core mandate to add value to Minerals and Metals through Research and Development, is poised to be a hlobal centre of excellence in minerals and metals sector innovation.
He also stated that for the Mines and Steel Sector to lead the economy of Nigeria, the role of Research and Development can not be over emphasized.
He informed the Media of the Research activities carried out by NMDC which include: Primary raw materials value addition and technological development for iron and steel production using wholly local raw materials; Provision of corrosion protection options for various environments in Nigeria by simulation; Analytical services/forensic Metallurgy, Geology, Mineralogy and Minerals beneficiation; Refractories Development for Iron and steel; Cement production etc; Welding and Fabrication; and Maintenance Services.
Furthermore, the Director General decried the poor funding of Research and Development in the country which he said, is the bedrock of industrialization, thereby reducing unemployment and increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Country.
“I assure you with the facilities and manpower on ground in NMDC, if the government prioritize R and D, the Centre alone can make significant impact on the economy”, he said.
Asuquo further pointed out that no nation has ever developed without the steel sector or with little or no attention to Research and Development.