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Revamp Ajaokuta steel plant, blast furnace refractories

Revamp Ajaokuta steel plant, blast furnace refractories
Engineering technology has gifted us unique and infinite developmental prospects over the years...READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶

Thus the universal opinion is that iron and steel be highly developed both in cost, maintenance and construction as prospecting Iron and steel would bridge the gap in development between the past and present generations.

The Nigerian Ajaokuta steel plant is an industry that can conveniently deluge the avalanche of the teeming population of unemployed in the country.

Hence the urgency to bring to knowledge the Ajaokuta iron and steel making blast furnace(s) in open forum workshops and seminars as to prepare Nigerians for the benefits and challenges of modern steel making. In 1985, Nigeria as a growing nation in iron and steel production was incorporated into the world union of steel production.

Then, the first crude steel production by Aladja and Ajaokuta steel plant was 243,000 and 77,948 tons respectively, with 540,000 and 43,843 tons capacity coils rolled out respectively by these plants.

On this early effort, Nigeria was accorded due honor and respect by world bodies of steel production such as India, Germany and Russia etc.

The combination of iron and steel production coupled with crude oil background spots Nigeria as a strong nation with industrial growth.

This can benefit creation of Nuclear weapons, ships building, locomotives and aeronautics space research as ingredients of national economic development.

The effort of the Federal Government to revamp the only blast furnace started by the Russians in 1979 in Ajaokuta is laudable. It is time this nation, viably blessed in all mineral and crude oil resources woke up and opened the floodgate of employment for her teeming applicants, while focus is on the completion of the Ajaokuta steel plant.

However, two main challenges to be encountered by the nation upon the commissioning of the plant are:

The doubled population of applicants since 1979, following the collapse of the Ajaokuta and Aladja steel plants and paucity of the formerly available trained manpower to handle the management of the plant as to meet up the objective or the target of 1,000,000 liquid steel ton/a.

These needs will hence require the training of manpower personnel of all categories in departments of the iron and steel. Through 1976 to 1981, a number of Nigerian engineers and technologists were trained in various countries across Europe by some good organizational bodies such as UNIDO ILO-International Labour Organization as to meet up the target of steel production across all engineering disciplines, showing vastly the extent to which iron and steel plant production can accommodate employment of applicants nationwide.

Reference 1981 “Directory of Fellows of International Organisation from pages 84-127 containing 121 Fellows”. Urgent Industrial Training of at least 3 months is required for key personnel from construction level of the blast furnace plant to commissioning stage to boost manpower.

My humble advice is that the Minister of Mines and Steel urgently make now the time for manpower training while the blast furnace is being completed. Secondly, the Federal Government needs to include state governments as shareholders, therefore requiring more blast furnaces across the nation as to engage at least 50% of the teeming roaming applicants in the country.

Training of would-be technologists and technicians can be done in the National Metallurgical Training Institute Onitsha and National Institute for Construction and Management Uromi Edo State while would be engineers/technicians could be sent to parts of Europe for further training.

While the full construction of the Ajaokuta blast furnace is on high gear by the Federal Government, an operational refractories plant should be urgently constructed and capacitated as previously envisaged by then government of President Shehu Shagari of blessed memory, on the same gear pari passu to urgently support acquisition of refractory products for iron/steel.

With the present arrangement by the Federal Government, the first refractory products may have to come from Russia/Ukraine Republics, unless exceptional efforts are made by the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel, where ITAKPE Iron Ore production can be boosted and other states explored for their solid minerals.

The Minister of Mines and Steel may work within this purview to see the success of Ajaokuta Steel Plant and with particular reference to the completion of the blast furnace by the Russian consortium/ contractors should solicit for old and experienced professionals so as to meet up the commissioning of the steel plant.

It is worthy to note that Nigeria’s membership of the steel union be recognized as the fore projection of pioneering engineers who deserved due national honours.

The engineers are the late Engr. Fred Brumeh, first General Manager of Aladja Iron/Steel Plant Aladja Delta State, who poured the first liquid steel through the ladle for the steel melting shop 1981, Engr Tachia Jooji, first General Manager to roll out billets to Jos and Katsina Rolling Mill, and Ajaokuta Steel Mill, and Engr. Tim Efobi, Supervisor Personnel Training for Ajaokuta and Aladja, later to set up the famous National Metallurgical Training Institute Onitsha now at Oboshi Anambra State.

•Okpebholo, member, Nigerian Society of Engineers/Civil Structural Engineer, member, School of Careers, London/Society of Professional Engineers, London, Refractories Maintenance Expert UNIDO Training, Zaporozhstal Iron and Steel Plant, Russia, and Refractory Laboratory Expert at Consortium Steel Plant Russia, can be reached via 08069330772, 08059652218, 07035895590; website:, e-mail: The Full Reading.>’.

About the author


JOLOWO BUNALAYEFA PIUS is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for BUNADY NEWSLITE GLOBAL ENTERPRISE ( He started his Blogging/Journalism career at God's Own Wireless Company 2012. He's a graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Ondo State, with a major in History And International Studies. You can contact him for press events, advertisement promotions on Email:

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