From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
The Director General/Chief Executive, National Metallurgical Development Centre, Jos, Prof Linus Asuquo said, setting the pace for industrialization through processing of Nigeria mineral in line with Executive Order 5 is a realistic step for rapid industrialization.
The NMDC boss also said the Minerals Processing Plant in the Agency was a Federal Government / UNIDO collaborative Pilot Plant aimed at processing virtually all the minerals in Nigeria and West African sub region.
He however decried the poor patronage by government agencies, corporate organizations and individuals, adding that it has mitigated the maximum utilization of the plant.
Prof Asuquo disclosed this while interacting with journalists.
Responding to questions on the role of local mineral processing in reducing huge importation bills, NMDC as a focal point, the DG/CE said that, “Nigeria spends 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 Plant at NMDC, Jos.
He highlighted the indispensable role mineral processing plays in the mineral production value chain.
Asuquo maintained that, “the Minerals Processing Pilot Plant in NMDC is one of the three Pilot Plants in Africa; the other two plants are located in South Africa and Egypt.
He explained that, each mineral after passing through the exploration and mining stage can only have value when it passes through the processing stage.
“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 further explained that the plant has the capacity to process “ferrous and non ferrous” materials to meet international standard.
Asuquo reiterated the agency’s commitment to ensure that it 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 Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria, (DICON) Nigeria Defence Academy(NDA), University of Jos, Akwanga College of Education, NESREA, among others.
According to him, the aforementioned collaborations were aimed at reducing the cost of materials importation and cost of funding manpower development in the country.
He maintained that the collaborations with some of the agencies has in recent time attracted government to strengthen the partnership in order to promote industrialization.
Asuquo called on government, corporate organisations and individuals to utilise the potentials of the Mineral Processing Plant available at NMDC.
He also called on government to increase the budgetary allocation to NMDC for it to realize its vision as an excellent- based research and development centre in Africa.