Expert canvasses iron, ore revolution
A geological expert, Prof. Dayo Adeleye has said the time is ripe for Nigeria to truly industrialise through the Bida Basin that holds billions of tons of iron stones deposits.
He pointed out that the industrial revolution that took place in the 18h century in Europe snuffed the iron smelting capacity of Nigeria’s iron and steel industry.
According to Adeleye of the Department of Earth Sciences, Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, who addressed the third inaugural lecture of the institution, titled; ‘’Bida Basin and the Economic Backbone of Nigeria’’, at the weekend, before the industrial revolution in Europe, Nigerians had always made all the iron and steel, they needed for their domestic uses.
Adeleye also disclosed that the country’s iron and steel were of higher quality than their European counterparts and that the sector was always regarded as the backbone of the economy of any country that aspired to becoming great through industrialization.
He said: ‘Internationally when we talk about the ‘backbone’ of any economy, we are talking about the amount of iron an steel it generates annually. Man still remains in the ‘iron age’, within historical perspectives. The more iron and steel you generate, the more is your ability to transform all matter within your reach into objects of commerce.”
The renowned geologist, who has been involved in the iron and steel mining business as a private entrepreneur and academic for over three decades, said that with about three billion tons of ironstone/ore, the Bida basin is the largest source of iron in Nigeria. He said although it (deposit) is phosphatic in nature, they are richer and better than their phosphatic and chamostic equivalents of North West Europe.
The university teacher lamented that although the original plan of the first major steel industry in Nigeria was to be based exclusively on some small pockets of ores spread around Okene-Oshokoshoko-Lokoja (Tajimi) areas, it has not been completed forty years after the start of the factory.
Adeleye advocated for a ‘’new dawn in iron and steel manufacture, stressing further that the billions of tons of iron stones in the area should not be side-tracked, but rather they should be made to form the main iron raw materials needed for the project.’’