The managing director of African Industries Group, Mr Alok Gupta, yesterday, said the company’s $600million Integrated Steel Plant will be Nigeria’s highest non-oil Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) when it begins operation.
Mr Gupta said federal government’s plan to turn around its iron and steel sector will receive the desired boost with the establishment of the $600m Integrated Steel Plant in Kaduna State.
This is as the minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, has assured that President Muhammadu Buhari will commission the phase I of the steel plant project which is sited in Tafa in Kagarko local government area of Kaduna.
“Hopefully, Mr President will be here to do the commissioning of the first phase of the project when the time comes.
“It is part of our mandate to encourage investment in mining and steel development which this group has started on; my visit here today is to encourage this investment and also to urge them to do this as quickly as possible to bring the obvious benefit, first to the community where it belongs.
“While we are there to moderate the expectations of the community, at the same time, we also encourage the investor to carry them along, benefiting in terms of employment, infrastructure including social infrastructure,” the minister said.
Affirming the minister’s position, the AIG managing director, Mr Alok Gupta, said,
“We expect to commission the Phase I of the project by end December 2020. We will be mining 5.4 million tonnes of Iron Ore, beneficiate the ore to produce high grade concentrate, make it into pellets and finally into Directly Reduced Iron (DRI). The DRI will be used to make steel billets and will avoid our need to import the same.
“We are also building a 36 MW Power Plant from the waste heat recovered in the process, which will be partly used for captive consumption,” he said.
According to him, with the completion of first phase of project, there will be significant economic and industrial development in the area by means of creation of several allied industries and social infrastructure, while the surplus power generated will further assist in developing other industries and residences and will help in urbanisation of the local area.
Pledging the support of the government of Kaduna State for the project, the Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who was represented by the Chief of Staff, Muhammed Abdullahi, said the state will work hand in hand with the ministry to ensure that the reap the benefit that is to follow.
“The governor has asked me to assure you of our support to ensure that the people of Kaduna and the government of Nigeria benefit from the project which will provide us with the advantage of job creation, of saving foreign exchange and providing the industrial capabilities that steel holds for our economy,” he said.