The world is moving away from carbon steel to stainless steel and Nigeria can’t be an exception. This was the position of the Stainless Steel Development Association of Nigeria (SSDAN) during the recently concluded first meeting of the National Council on Mines and Minerals Resources Development (NCMMRD).
Speaking at the event which held in Abuja, Director General SSDAN, Timothy Onwughai, in a paper titled ‘Strategies for Implementation of the Roadmap for National Development disclosed that mining minerals and stainless steel are catalysts in the economic and industrial development of Nigeria with the capacity to creating wealth and millions of jobs.
While lamenting the reluctance of Nigeria to becoming a major player in the Stainless Steel industry despite the presence of Nickel, Chromium and Molybdenum, the Director General said “South Africa is the largest producer of stainless steel products in Africa. China in 2016 was the highest producer of stainless steel products (24.94 million tonnes) followed by India (3.32 million tonnes) and Japan in the world.
He said “Nickel is a major component in the production of stainless steel materials, of high economic benefit and a mineral resource widely sought after all over the world and a major source of foreign exchange. The Nickel balls discovered in Kaduna, Nigeria is said to be of a very high grade.
“Meanwhile of the world’s total Nickel import of $25.75 billion, Nigeria is responsible for $7.2 million, while of the world’s export value of $22.5 billion, Nigeria earns a meager $190,000.
“The leading country in Africa is Madagascar followed by South Africa and Botswana. The demand of Nickel is fast growing with the price going tremendously in the last six months due to its high demand factor.
“International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) partners with Nickel Institute to advance the market value and promote Nickel all over the world.
“We are the bridge in our economic development; we should look beyond Oil and gas. We should not make the same mistake we made in the petroleum industry, where we export crude oil and import refined petroleum products.
“If we can mine the above listed metal products, we will be able to export both raw materials and finished goods at the same time.
“A combination of Stainless steel, Nickel, Chromium, Molybdenum can generate over $50 billion for the country per year. This will boost a large number of industries and employ a large number of Nigerians, thereby increasing the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“As an association, we are planning to build the first international stainless steel village here in Abuja and open small fabrication training centers in the 36 states of Nigeria plus the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The International Stainless Steel Village will have an international market, a small production factory, a fabrication training center and a mini clinic.
“Our association has provided jobs for a lot of Nigerian youths, through skill acquisition training in stainless steel marketing, fabrication and installation. We request for government intervention in this area.
“I have been invited to give a speech on Stainless Steel Development in Nigeria at the 2017 ICDA Conference, South Africa and have also, attended several international conferences. I can boldly state that Nigeria is the center of attraction; a lot of companies are very much interested in coming to invest in Nigeria. We should not allow this great opportunity to pass us by.”
He insisted that Nigeria is the future of the world.