By Gabriel Ewepu
MINNERS under the auspices of Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, have expressed optimism that the completion 154-kilometer Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri standard gauge line billed for commercial operations by September 2018 will boost mining activities in the minerals and mining sector.
In an interview with Vanguard over the weekend, the National President, MAN, Sani Shehu, applauded the federal government for resuscitating the rail line.
He said: “The rail line from Ajaokuta to Aladja is a step in the right direction that will boost activities in the mining sector. We as an association commend the federal government to focus on this critical infrastructure in the sector after 35 years of abandonment and we see greater productivity coming soon in the sector as far as Ajaokuta Steel Company is concerned. “
The rail line will link directly with the ore at Itakpe for easy movement to the company. More activities will be seen at Ajaokuta steel company as more materials will be moved to it for production.” He also called on the federal government to consider opening designated ports for solid mineral products, adding that the Lagos ports congested.
“We have other ports like the Warri, Burutu, Port Harcourt, and Onitsha Ports that could be developed in order to decongest Lagos ports that are facing heavy pressures as we speak. If other ports are developed there will be beehive of activities in the economy, and it will help the mining sector also.”
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who inspected the 154-kilometer Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri standard gauge line, disclosed that commercial operations will commence by September, this year.