The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced its interest in the privatisation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant.

This was made known by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who revealed that there shall be a hand-over of the $4.5bn Ajaokuta steel complex to private operators.

By 2004, when it was taken over by India’s Ispat Industries Limited, it had yet to produce any steel. Ispat’s concession was revoked in 2008 and the government has yet to resolve all outstanding legal issues, Fayemi said.

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Fayemi also mentioned that the government aimed to improve the implementation of mining laws, make available better data on the country’s deposits and act to regulate informal mining.

He added that, “The sector has been comatose for some time. We will be ready for the next boom.”

The country will also try and attract investment into gemstone mining and will improve data on gold deposits in Zamfara State and elsewhere before trying to attract investors in 2017, he said.

The government, having shown an interest in generating income from every sector of the economy has listed the mining and steel industry as one of its income base.