The Permanent Secretary, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Abdulkadri Mu’azu has described the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC), Jos as a hub for Minerals and metallurgical process development in Nigeria.

He made the statement during his visit to NMDC. He said the Centre is well positioned to contribute significantly to diversification of the Nigeria economy through the development of the mineral and metals sectors. He referred to the report of the Bureau of Statistics as an evidence that the mining sector is doing very well.

The Permanent Secretary assured the management and staff of the Centre that the Ministry is committed to assisting it to effectively discharge its mandate. “In spite of the fact that the country is grasping with economic challenges, the Minister is committed to do whatever it is possible within the resources available to us to see that we assist this centre to succeed”, he assured.

He acknowledged the challenges the Centre is facing as regards funding and budget performance and promised that the Ministry would do its best to ensure the achievement of NMDC’s mandate. He solicited for the understanding and cooperation of the staff and called for total dedication to the fulfilment of the agency’s mandate.

Speaking earlier, the Director General NMDC, Engr. Prof. Linus Asuquo said the role of NMDC in the Minerals and Metals Sector is principally to provide in-depth research work required to add value to minerals and metals production processes.

He said while other agencies could acquire analytical equipment for the conduct of mineral assay and mechanical test as a means of quality control or identification of materials, only NMDC has the requisite manpower and facilities to carry out in-depth Research & Development (R&D) for value addition.

Prof. Asuquo explained that NMDC serves as Database for Minerals and Metallurgical Research and Information system and as well as a Resource Centre for establishing and coordinate linkages with Industry Operations, Training Institutions, Importers and Exporters, and so on behalf of government.

He said part of the mandate of the Centre is to carry out research work for the development of minerals and metallurgical sectors of Nigerian economy. “The Centre is the only one of its kind in the West African Sub-Region with specialized array of equipment that seeks to add value to minerals and metal products through beneficiation and other processing techniques in addition to rendering consultancy services and training,” he further explained.

The DG listed the challenges being faced by the Centre to include poor budgeting system and non-functional and obsolete equipment. He appealed for the removal of the budget ceiling and increased budgetary allocation while stressing the need for enhancement of the already available facilities to increase the capacity of the Centre to generate more revenue.

He thereafter implored the Ministry to assist in attracting to the Centre, the level of funding required for the specialized nature of R & D activities conducted at the Centre.

As part of on the spot assessment of the Centre, the Permanent Secretary visited the Mineral Beneficiation Pilot Plant, Lead Zinc Pilot Plant and Foundry Outfit of the Centre where melting of iron and steel in both Ferrous and non-ferrous into different shapes takes place. Other sections inspected include; Energy Dispersive Plant, Electric Arc Furnace II and Mechanical Testing Lab, where the integrity/mechanical properties of materials are tested.