By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA — A Chinese firm, Tongyi Allied Mining Limited, said it planned to set up a $50 million steel smelting plant in Nasarawa State.
The disclosure was made by the company’s project manager, Mr. Vincent Yuan, during a visit to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Sada, in Abuja last week.
Yuan at the presentation of the activities of the mining giant said the company was out to add value to the mining sector based on government’s support.
He said: “The Tongyi Allied Mining Limited is a company from China that has come to develop Nigeria’s mining sector. We have embarked on a whole lot of mining and development activities since we established the company here in Nigeria in 2009.
“We are going to establish a $50 million steel smelting plant in Nasarawa State. Although the project will last for about three years since it is capital intensive.
“We are also going to carry out exploration on about 10 new mining sites in Bauchi, Plateau, Ebonyi, Benue, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Adamawa states, and development in Plateau, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Zamfara, and possibly, Benue states.
“These explorations will be for minerals, mainly lead-zinc, tin, copper, gold, and we also do other ones like tunsten, silver and marble, and others.”
Yuan also said that about $7million investment plan has been concluded to open up two mines and establish two zinc-lead processing plants, which each will be sited in Ebonyi and Plateau states.
With regard to the company’s corporate social responsibilities, he said the company has spent $10million on community development projects ranging from access roads, bridges, blocks of classroom, scholarships, water projects, and skills acquisition in host communities.
However, Yuan expressed frustration on the company’s challenge of not getting explosives as expected for mining operation, “We think it is partially because of the security reason, since it is explosives, even though we want to use it on our operation as civil use it has become difficult,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sada, who commended Tongyi on its commitment in developing the nation’s mining sector, said the government was ready to partner with companies like this on employment generation and economic development.
Sada also said mining companies that failed to implement the community development agreements risk losing its mining lease, as the government strongly protects host communities and ensure they benefit from companies operating there.
The Minister also promised of appropriate sanctions against companies which failed to pay their taxes. He said the government will henceforth strictly enforce laws guiding mining operations and any found wanting risk revocation of their operating licenses.
He projected a two per cent contribution by the mining sector to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in the next two years.