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Nigeria Seeks to Revive Dormant $4.5 Billion Steel Mill in 2016

  • Solid mineral minister Fayemi aims to boost mining industry
  • Ajaokuta began construction in 1979, no steel by 2004

Nigeria is aiming to hand over the $4.5 billion Ajaokuta steel complex to private operators this year as part of a plan to kick start its industrial and mining industries, Kayode Fayemi, the country’s minister of Solid Minerals Development, said.

Construction of Ajaokuta, which lies on the Niger River and was supposed to have an installed capacity of 5 million metric tons of steel a year, began in 1979. Work was delayed by the government’s failure to pay the builders, Russia’s Tyazhpromexport, on schedule. By 2004, when it was taken over by India’s Ispat Industries Ltd., it was yet to produce any steel. Ispat’s concession was revoked in 2008 and Nigeria is yet to resolve all outstanding legal issues, Fayemi said.