The Federal Government will sign the Memorandum of Understanding with a Russian firm for the resuscitation of the multi-billion naira Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill in January.
The Minister of Mines and Steel, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, who disclosed this on Monday, said the Federal Government meant business in bringing back on stream the steel rolling mill which had been down since the late President Shehu Shagari administration.
The minister spoke during his facility tour of the National Steel Raw Material Exploration Agency on Monday in Kaduna State.
Adegbite noted while addressing the management staff of the agency that once the Russian contractors to handle the resuscitation of the mill are identified, the MoU would be signed and work would commence.
According to him, funds for the resuscitation of the steel mill is already in place, adding also that a committee has been inaugurated to kickstart the project.
He then directed the Director-General of the National Steel Raw Material Agency, Umar Hassan, to nominate two persons to be part of the committee, saying that the agency was critical to the Ajaokuta project.
Adegbite said, “This agency is invaluable towards the resuscitation or development of Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills.
“As you all know, the President is making sure that we resuscitate Ajaokuta Steel, that Ajaokuta should come back on stream.
“We have taken the first step. Talks are on with the original builders, a Russian company; and MoU drafts are being studied by both sides.
“And hopefully, sometime in January 2020, we will probably sign the MoU and once the contractors are identified from the Russian side, the funds are already in place, the work will start.”
The NSRMEA Director General, Umar Hassan, had, earlier in his address, said the the agency, saddled with the responsibility of mining and exploration in the country, was constrained by inadequate skills, inadequate project vehicles, modelling software, and dilapidated offices.