Ajaokuta Steel Company is one of the public Steel Company entities, conceived for the industrialization of the Nigerian economy. The Steel Plant facilities were erected by T. P. E of the then Soviet Union over 35years ago. Due to constant preservation, and standard maintenance culture the facilities have remained largely intact through the years although the electricals and some other sensitive facilities might have gone bad or has become outdated by now.
The internal Technical Audit conducted in 2018, put the level of completeness and readiness at 95.7%and the possible cost of reactivation at $652m
OVERVIEW OF AJAOKUTA STEEL PLANT (THE BEDROCK OF NIGERIAN INDUSTRILIZATION)
Ajaokuta Steel Plant was conceived and steadily developed with the vision of erecting a Metallurgical Process Plant cum Engineering Complex and to generate upstream and downstream industrial and economic activities critical to the diversification of the economy of the country into an industrial one.
It is Nigeria’s biggest industrial investment in one location
Ajaokuta Steel Project is located on a 24,000 hectares sprawling Greenfield land mass.
The Steel Plant is built on 800 hectares of land, on three platforms dovetailing into the bank of the River Niger.
The Steel Plant has 61.6km of road network, 68.2km of internal rail network and 26.6km underground cable tunnel
There is vast land for expansion into the 2nd and 3rd phases of the plant.
3-Phase commissioning sequence was adopted for the implementation of the project:
Phase I: 1.3million tonnes of steel per year;
Phase II: 2.6million tonnes of steel per year;
Phase III: 5.2million tonnes of steel per year.
As earlier stated, Ajaokuta Steel Company was a 24,000 hectares greenfield location. While the Steel Plant was being built on some 800 hectares, the balance was largely committed to the building of the Steel Township. Both the Plant and Township are planned to be developed Pari passu, in three phases. Both are at the first phase of development n
In the first phase of the Township development, a total of 10,000 housing units was targeted, comprising 4-bedroom, 3-bedroom and 2-bedroom flats, some with associated boys’ quarters, drivers’ quarters etc. About 3,500 units were completed while the balance units are at various stages of completion. With respect to housing, the major civil contractors involved in the steel plant project-built houses for their staff which they handed over to ASCL at the completion and determination of their contracts.
Ajaokuta has a hundred 100m long and 15m height draft river Port jetty that could help berth daughter ships ,will also have an airstrip located 28km away at Adogo village
From the Report of the detailed Technical Audit of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant carried out in 2018, Phase I is estimated to be about 95.6% technically ready.
Forty (40) out of the forty-three (43) plant units of the Steel Plant has at one time been completed, tested and commissioned
Presently, a guided effort is put in place by the present management to continue to idle run , maintain and secure the steel plant until the Russian arrives to reactivate the plant in readiness for commercial operation again.
AJAOKUTA STEEL PLANT IS NOT OBSOLETE
Nigeria’s biggest industrial investment in one location
Ajaokuta Steel Plant was designed to produce liquid steel via the blast furnace, a major and current technology for steel production around the world
For several years till date, over 70% of world steel production is via the Blast Furnace Process Technology.
The choice of technology, Blast Furnace – Basic Oxygen Process (BF=BOF) is still the best and the most popular worldwide:
It remains the most acceptable and applied technology in Iron making process.
Most established technology
Quite Energy efficient
Capability of processing even the least acceptable grades of iron ore
Quite flexible in operation
Easily adaptable to modernization and automation
Total world crude steel production in year 2019 was about 1, 870, 000,000 (1.87 billion) tons
Total world crude steel production via blast furnace in year 2019 was about 1,350,000,000 (1.35 billion) tons
Percentage of crude steel production via the blast furnace in year 2019 was about 72%
The following countries among others have recently built new BLAST FURNACES to improve their STEEL Production capacity:
CHINA (produces over 50% of World’s Steel)
BENEFITS OF A COMPLETED AJAOKUTA STEEL PLAN
The gap between the developed and less developed nations has been a product of the technological and scientific superiority of the Developed Nations.
The Developed Nations are the Industrialized Nations;
Industrialization is Driven by Technology; and
Technology is Driven by STEEL
The steel sector is very critical to our national development because of its catalytic role and linkage effects on other sector of the national economy.
It is an employment generator….Ajaokuta Steel Plant in the first phase will yield 10,000 direct technical jobs and 500,000 indirect unskilled , semi- skilled and skilled jobs in the downstream and upstream industries as well as services. This will translate to improved living standard for our citizen it will enhance peaceful environment and bring about better security when our youths are gainfully employed
It will bring about technological growth
It will stimulate skill acquisition development
It will bring about infrastructural development
It will actualize wealth creation through value addition to our solid mineral resources
Steel development is a jealously and zealously guarded sector being strategic to the defense cells in the steel plant
It will boost our armament production plans
It is the bedrock of any nation’s industrialization
It is one of the main pillars of Nigeria industrial revolution plan (NIRP)
RECENT EFFORTS TO REPOSITION AJAOKUTA STEEL PLANT AND SEE TO ITS COMMISIONING AND COMPLETION
The Honorable Minister in the past one year has worked assiduously to bring Ajaokuta Steel Company limited to the fore , he has actually visited Ajaokuta Steel plant for up to three times since resuming , he has been able to attract the attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria to a commitment to jump start the reactivation and completion of Ajaokuta Steel Plant
That commitment initiated the move for the meeting of President Mohammadu Buhari and President Putin of Russia in Sochi (Russia) in October 2019 that brought about the Government to Government agreement to reactivate , modernize, complete and operate Ajaokuta Steel Plant.
This effort has resulted into the Federal government inaugurating the AJAOKUTA PRESIDENTIAL PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION TEAM (APPIT) the committee saddled with the implementation of the Government to Government agreement. This committee of which the HM is the co – Chairman has proceeded to achieve a lot towards realizing the goal, presently as soon as the COVID- 19 measures are relaxed for international flights the Russians are expected to come in for the Technical Audit of the Steel plant which is the first phase of the project implementation.
Further more in order to continue to add value to the good maintenance culture obtained in Ajaokuta Steel Plant , the minister has Financially intervened in improving the Plant’s vast power facilities, water supply facilities and Security beef up of the Steel Plant Steel Plant does not deteriorate.
History is yet to record a nation that achieved industrialization without first establishing a viable steel sector.
Nigeria cannot be an exception.
ATTAH IS ABUJA BASED ACTIVIST