Chinese Consortium Moves To Acquire Ajaokuta Steel Factory
16 August 2016
A Chinese consortium, China Polaris Technologies Company Limited, has sent a team of its senior executives to Nigeria for the purpose of exploring avenues for investing in the nations mining sector, with an expression of interest in acquiring the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills in Kogi State.
The group made this known Monday at the federal ministry if solid minerals headquarters, where they were hosted by Abubakar Bawa Bwari, the minister of state for solid minerals development.
Zhang Wendong, leader of the group and chief executive officer of the company, said the mission of their visit was to indicate the group’s interest in investing in the solid minerals sector.
“The group also indicated interest in acquiring the Ajaokuta Steel Company, saying they had discovered an iron ore site of high quality that can be explored to provide raw materials for the Ajaokuta Company and other steel processing companies in the country,” according to a statement signed by Rhoda Ishaku Iliya, who is the assistant director press in the ministry of solid minerals development.
Wendong said the consortium was a group of companies that are into mining, exploration, financing, provision of technologies, commodity exchange and minerals product beneficiation.
He said the group wants to register a company that will integrate the various companies to operate in the country and solicited the assistance of the ministry of solid minerals to speed up the process of obtaining its operational licence and how to link up with already licensed companies in the sector for mutually beneficial partnerships that can boost the Nigerian economy and move the country forward.
Bwari, while responding, restated federal government’s determination to encourage and partner with genuine local and foreign investors to develop the solid minerals sector in the country.
He said that the government was ready to assist and cooperate with any investor in the solid minerals sector and that the necessary enabling environment has been provided for smooth business operations in the sector.
Bwari also told the group to submit a detailed presentation on areas of interest for the benefit of the parties involved.
It could be recalled that on August 1, the federal government of Nigeria signed a renegotiated concession agreement with Global Steel Holdings Limited for the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), located at Itakpe in Kogi State, with the Ajaokuta steel complex reverting to the federal government.
The deal was a final attempt at freeing the steel complex from contractual encumbrances between Global Steel and the federal government that had left it uncompleted and non-functional for decades.
With the new agreement, the government said its next step would be to commence the process of ensuring that the Ajaokuta steel factory is given out to a serious operator with proven technical and financial capacity.
“It is our expectation that we would accomplish two things- bring NIOMCO to full function and start the process of retaking Ajaokuta and then give it to a new operator and move Nigeria from being just a mineral nation to a mining nation,” said Kayode Fayemi, the minister of solid minerals development.
Source : businessdayonline.com