Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: 'Only 1.5 Percent of Nigeria's Iron Ore Refined'

The National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) has only been able to refine 3 million out of almost 200 million tonnes of iron ore, representing about 1.5 percent of iron ore deposit at the Itakpe iron ore plant.

The Sole Administrator and Chief Executive of NIOMCO, Engineer Abubakar Ibrahim, said this while conducting newsmen round the plant in Itakpe along Okene-Lokoja road in Kogi State at the weekend.

NIOMCO was concessioned to an Indian company, Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited (GINL), in 2005 for 10 years.

Engineer Ibrahim said the concession agreement placed on GINL the obligation to complete, rehabilitate and operate the NIOMCO plants.

The company is expected to pay 3 percent of its turnover from operations to the federal government and to maintain the accepted stock of spare parts for maintaining the plants in good working condition.

He said the Indians did not only default in all these areas but also indulged in cannibalizing the beneficiation plant, hence the termination of the concession agreement in 2008 and setting up of an interim management committee to secure the assets of the company.

Worried by the idling of the plants since then, he said in 2012 he was given the mandate of putting in place a management structure, supervision of plant rehabilitation work and to carry out activities that will add value to the company.

Established since the early 1970s, Ibrahim said the company needs about N6 billion to continue without further support from government.

Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of NIOMCO, Comrade Ibori Dauda Salihu, confirmed that the Indians had wreaked a lot of havoc on the company and called on government not to make the mistake of bringing back any investor to the company.

He attributed the restiveness and theft in the company to government's inability to release funds to enable the smooth running of NIOMCO and said all jobs being handled by contractors should be adequately supervised.

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