Abubakar Bwari, the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, says the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) in Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom would resume production soon.
Mr Bwari gave the assurance while receiving the Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshin, who paid him a courtesy visit on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, ALSCON which has been moribund for over a decade will soon be put to use.
The minister said that Messrs UC Rusal, a Russian company which finally won the bid for the company had already submitted a business plan to the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) adding that the company is also working on plans to commence technical audit of the plant.
According to him, the Federal Government is making effort to ensure that the Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASC) also comes on board soon.
He said that Nigeria has a long standing bilateral relationship with Russia, adding that Russia has great connections with the formation and construction of the ASC.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government had launched a technical audit to find out requirements for the completion of the company at the end of which an estimated $652 million was recommended for its reactivation.
Mr Bwari commended the ambassador, for the visit which took place barely a month after he assumed office in Nigeria.
“We are happy to receive the ambassador because our ministry is the second ministry he has visited; he visited the Ministry of Agric first and he has barely spent a month in Nigeria as the Russian ambassador,’’ he said.
Earlier, Mr Shebarshin said his visit was to strengthen existing bilateral relationship between Russia and Nigeria on mining exploration and other areas.
He advised the minister to make contact with JSC Zarubezhgeologia, a Russian company in his efforts to revive the ASC and make it operational.
Mr Shebarshin said JSC Zarubezhgeologia was an exploration company between 1969 and 1983 in Nigeria, adding that the ministry can partner with the ministry on geological issues and mineral exploration.
NAN recalls that the Russian company had to its credit the discovery of large deposit of dolomite, iron ore, lime stones and other minerals in Kogi, which prompted the Federal Government to set up the Ajaokuta Steel Company.