The Federal Government policy on how to boost local production of steel has been inconsistent over the years, making the industry unstable. The country’s three inland rolling mills firms; Katsina Steel Rolling Company, Jos Steel Rolling Company and Oshogbo steel rolling company are under performing due mainly to lack of funds to run the mills.
Nigeria has not made much input into this industry even with several million tones of scrap materials littering the towns, highways and dump sites in the country. Steel scrap processing plants in the country are mainly owned by Asians and most of the scraps are compressed and exported at give-away prices to their home countries for finishing. This is a sad indictment on Nigeria entrepreneurs. The Nigerian importers and traders in steel products need to look in this direction to raise more profits to secure their future.
A reasonable size steel scrap plant could be based on the estimated 500,000-700,000 metric tones per annum capacity. If investors could take advantage of this and invest into the sector, it will pay him off. There are a lot of people out there using steels for their constructions, meaning that market for steel products is guaranteed. There is no single construction company that does not use steel for constructions, which means cool money for any investor that wants to invest in this sector is assured.
Types of scrap metals
The types of scrap metal, including ferrous and nonferrous metals. Nonferrous metals include copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and others. Ferrous metals include iron and are typically found in such products as obsolete machinery, stoves, refrigerators, and automobile engines. Nonferrous metals typically include metals such as copper, brass, aluminum, magnesium, and alloys. Typical scrap objects and materials include copper wire and piping, brass fixtures, aluminum siding, and chairs. Copper is 99 per cent copper by weight and free of any brass attachments or paint whereas #2 Copper is 96 per cent or more copper by weight.
Raw materials needed to set up steel processing plant
Most of the essential raw materials and consumables required in the Iron and steel industry are available locally. They include abundant steel scrap, machines, equipment, cans, cooking coal, limestone, dolomite, refractory, ferros-alloys, natural gas among others.
Production process steel plant
•Pelletizing, direct reduction, sintering, continuous casting, blooming and stabbing mills, hot & cold strip mills, Plate mill, Pipe mill, Merchant, rod and bar, plate and coating lines
Steel manufacture is essentially an oxidation process, which reduces the amount of carbon, silicon, manganese, phosphorous and sulphur from a mixture of molten pig iron and steel scrap,. The electric furnace process is ideal for small capacity installations.
The processes used are mainly the;
•Open-hearth process, basic oxygen process, electric furnace process, bassemer process, direct reduced Iron (DRI), HYL 1 and HHYL 111 processes.
The steel produced is poured into a mould inside where it solidifies into the finial-desired form or into a form suitable for further processing. Ingots are the raw materials for forgoing and rolling operations.
The site for the steel plant would take into consideration the abundance of natural gas which forms the major energy requirement partly for the Direct Reduction to be process utilised by the plant, and partly for the generation of electricity.
Plant initial capacity
Steel scrap plants and mini-mills using electric are furnace (EAF), facilities are popular world-wide and several commercial plants are in operation successfully. It requires less capital investment and construction time as well as a relatively lower operating cost and a higher return on investment.
The capacity of rolling mill would cover product mix comprising various dimensions of plain, rounds, and ribbed bars, flats, equal and unequal angels, tees channels and beams.
In line with the tradition of steel industry in the world, it would construct a steel township comprising a comprehensive set of housing units.