The Director General of the National Metallurgical Development Centre, NMDC, Jos, Professor Linus Asuquo says the nation is endowed with vast coals deposit but the coals have poor coking properties.
Professor Asuquo made this known in an interview with Kapital FM in Abuja.
He said coals found cannot be used one hundred percent for the production of Metallurgical coke, the centre was conducting studies on the nation’s coals to increase its utilization in blends for Metallurgical coke production at the the Ajaokuta steel plant.
According to him studies indicate that certain percent of Nigeria coal can be utilized in the blends for Metallurgical coke production.
Metallurgical coal is low in ash, moisture, sulfur and phosphorus content, and its rank is usually bituminous. Some grades of anthracite coal are used for sintering, pulverized coal injection, direct blast furnace charge, pelletizing, and in production of ferro-alloys, silicon-manganese, calcium-carbide and silicon-carbide.
Metallurgical coal produces strong, low-density coke when it is heated in a low-oxygen environment. On heating, the coal softens, and volatile components evaporate and escape through pores in the mass. During coking, the material swells and increases in volume.
This he stressed has necessitated the construction of a coke oven pilot plant at the centre for testing these results at industrial scale.
“The metallurgical industry also comprises the non-ferrous sector made up of tin, lead, zinc, copper, etc. which are abundant in Nigeria” he said.
Speaking on how the nation can harnessed Nigeria’s Metallurgical potential, Prof Asuquo pointed out that the completion and full-scale operation of the Ajaokuta plant would create over two million direct and indirect jobs and serve as a catalyst for industrial and technological development.
” if the Ajaokuta steel plant is operational not less than two million people will be gainfully employed directly or indirectly” Professor Asuquo explained.
He appealed to the federal government to match words with action by making sure the Ajaokuta steel plant is functioning to enable wealth and job creation.
According to the NMDC boss experts in the steel sector have for long been calling for the engagement of the Russians to complete the plant and this action by the president Muhammadu Buhari by signing a bilateral agreement with the Russian government is a turning point.