The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, has described the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) as a strategic company in government’s strive for economic diversification.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, Adegbite said that government was determined to make the company to become operational.
He advised Nigerians to show patriotism and to desist from acts that could fritter away strategic national assets.
“Attempts to privatise ALSCON resulted to litigations, which stalled the process and made the company inoperable.
“Aluminum was recently designated as a strategic industry to Nigeria’s economy and government has expressed renewed determination to ensure that ALSCON works, despite the prolonged litigation.
“As Nigerians, we need to have love for our fatherland and not partake in acts that can have negative effects on the economy.”
The minister gave his assurance that some foreign investors had been contracted to bring the aluminum company back to life.
He expressed optimism that the company would commence production in the shortest possible time.
ALSCON was incorporated in 1989 with the Federal Government, Ferostaal AG of Germany and Reynolds of America as shareholders on an equity holding of 70 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.
The company was established to utilise and boost Nigeria’s gas reserve and to discourage gas flaring, since the natural gas being flared would be needed to generate electricity for the smelter plant.
The key objectives of ALSCON are to provide employment to Nigerians and to create an avenue for transfer and acquisition of technology.
It was also designed to conserve and earn foreign exchange by meeting the country’s aluminum needs and to export finished products to the international market.
The plant is also to serve as a feeder to downstream industries which will utilise products of ALSCON as their basic raw materials.