The Director General/Chief Executive, National Metallurgical Development Centre, Jos, Prof Linus Asuquo, has said that setting the pace for industrialization through processing of Nigeria’s minerals in line with Executive Order 5, is a realistic step for rapid industrialization.
Prof. Asuquo who made this known while interacting with Newsmen in Abuja over the weekend, said that Nigeria has spent so much in the importation of processed minerals thereby incurring huge debt which would have been avoided by proper utilization of the Minerals Processing Pilot Plant at NMDC, Jos.
The DG, while responding to questions on, “the Role of Local Mineral Processing in Reducing Huge Importation Bills, NMDC— a focal point”, said 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.
The NMDC Helmsman decried the poor patronage by government agencies, corporate organizations and individuals, which he said, is militating against the maximum utilization of the plant.
He highlighted the indispensable role mineral processing plays in the mineral production value chain, a statement by the Head Press and Public Relations, NMDC, Jos, Sunny Eweama disclosed.
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.
He 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. The plant has the capacity to process ferrous and non ferrous materials to meet international standards”.
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 collaborated 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, and have in recent time attracted the government to strengthen the partnership in order to promote industrialization.
Prof Asuquo called on the government, corporate organizations and individuals to utilize the potentials of the Mineral Processing Plant available at NMDC, and also urged the government to increase the budgetary allocation to NMDC for it to realize its vision as an Excellence-Based Research and Development Centre in Africa.