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Ajaokuta Needs Rail Line, Seaport To Thrive, Says Russia

Ajaokuta Needs Rail Line, Seaport To Thrive, Says Russia   A rail line and a functional sea port would be needed for Ajaokuta Steel Complex to thrive whenever it starts production, an on-the-spot assessment of the steel mill has shown.

The on-the-spot assessment, which involved a facility tour, was carried out by experts from MetProm Group, a Russian company which had offered to rehabilitate the steel complex. The development was disclosed to our correspondent in Abuja by a Russian government official, Deputy Head of Mission, Trade and Economic Affairs, Mr Valery Shaposhnikov. Shaposhnikov, who was part of the delegation that participated in the facility tour, said the Federal Government needed to address some ‘outstanding infrastructural issues’ before the steel complex could be put to effective use.

He said, “There seems to be a number of outstanding infrastructural issues that the country will have to address before it can fully capitalise on the plant. “A railway is essential for a continuous supply of ore from the remote mines; a port would be needed to secure a trouble-free shipment of coal.”

The Russian envoy was quick to stress that the decision to undertake the projects was with the Nigerian government. “These are matters of Nigeria’s sovereign economic development,” he said while responding to enquiries by our correspondent. Giving further insight into the findings from the facility tour, Shaposhnikov told our correspondent that facilities in the steel complex were in ‘healthy’ condition.

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