The federal government is to restart operations at the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State, by the end of 2023.
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Uchechukwu Ogah, made this known when he paid a courtesy visit to the governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel at the Government House, Uyo, on Friday.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that ALSCON in Ikot Abasi be revamped and reactivated before the end of the present administration.
“President Buhari has mandated that ALSCON should be reactivated as soon as possible, so we believe that before the end of this administration ALSCON will be running.
“A lot of approvals have been gotten from the Federal Executive Council, concession for the utilisation of gas, so I believe with all the efforts put in place, ALSCON will be a glorious outcome,” Mr Ogah said.
He expressed optimism that at the end of the present administration, the company will commence operations.
The minister said that his two-day facility visit to ALSCON would ascertain the level of work at the company, and assured Akwa Ibom people that glorious days await the state soon.
He said legal issues around the company would be resolved, with the intervention of the federal government in the moribund status of the company.
“It is a growing concern and we believe that they will be sorted out as we keep progressing, we believe that based on the intervention from the federal government all the legal issues will be resolved soon,” he said.
Mr Ogah pointed out that the federal government seeks partnership with Akwa Ibom Government to create ease and a hitch-free atmosphere for solid mineral exploration in the state.
The collaboration would create opportunities for employment and wealth creation in the country, he said.
“We believe that it’s time for Akwa Ibom to develop the solid minerals in the state, we are looking at how to synergise, to collaborate with the state government so that we can have good relationship between the Ministry of Mines and Steel and the state so that exploration of minerals in the state will be with ease and hitch-free.
“There are a lot of solid minerals abundant in Akwa Ibom and we believe that the synergy we are creating will give rise to great opportunities that will lead to massive employment of the Nigerian youths and wealth creation for people,” he said.
Responding, Mr Emmanuel stated that the reactivation of ALSCON would stimulate the entire economy in the country.
He promised that his administration would partner the federal government to ensure the aluminium factory comes back to live.
The governor described the steps taken by the federal government as positive, and in the interest of the country and the masses.
“As a state, we are willing to give all the necessary support so that the project can actually come on stream.
“Trust that we will work together and we will make it work, it is in the interest of the country, it is in the interest of the masses, it will help our economy,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel thanked President Buhari for approving the steps taken towards revamping ALSCON, and said that reviving the company was beyond partisan politics.
ALSCON, incorporated in 1989, was originally a joint venture project between the Nigerian government and two foreign technical partners, Ferrostaal AG of Germany and Reynolds International Inc. U.S.
The company for more than a decade has, however, been enmeshed in ownership tussle between a Nigerian-American consortium, BFIGroup, and a Russian firm, UC RUSAL.
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