The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, in this interview on ‘The Morning Show,’ on Arise Television, spoke about the efforts by the federal government to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Company through a partnership with the Russian government. Among other issues, he also spoke about efforts to enhance capacity and productivity of artisanal miners, to enable them thrive better. Peter Uzoho presents the excerpts:How optimistic should we be about Ajaokuta Steel Company considering the fact that it has almost become a white elephant project and since 1979, we have just been moving back and forth, from the Russians to the Indians?We need to be optimistic about Ajaokuta. This administration is giving its best shots now on Ajaokuta, we have tried quasi-privatisation in the past, we have tried concession with the Americans, like you said, with the Indians, and all that, and it all failed. Now we have gone to the original people that built Ajaokuta. It is unfortunate that we are at this imp, because Ajaokuta like everybody will tell you is 95 per cent or 98 per cent complete, and you just wonder why not that little push. There is a conspiracy internationally for Nigeria not to produce steel, especially then we were buying our steel from the West. Of course, they didn’t want us to produce steel, and of course, with some local collusion or whatever, Ajaokuta has failed. But that is in the past, the focus now is on making sure that Ajaokuta works. President Muhammadu Buhari has said we cannot throw Nigeria’s money, hard-earned revenue at Ajaokuta again. So we are looking at something totally different and innovative. We have gone back to the Russians who are the original builders under the Soviet Union –Russia, Ukraine, and then some Romanians participated. What we are doing now is, we have gone to the Government of Russia and they are working with the Nigerian Government to say that Russian will nominate a contractor from their country. We have got funding from the Russian Export Centre, that is something like an Eximbank and of course from the Afreximbank, we have this funding. Now, the Russian Government will bring the contractor forth and we are working government to government. This seems to be a better idea than what we had in the past, where it was just profit-oriented and then people just came in and milked Ajaokuta. Ajaokuta has worked at different times sporadically, one activity or the other, but now the thing is to get it working and keep it working. The arrangement we have now in place is that a company will come in, with the funding we are getting, and Ajaokuta will pay for itself. So we don’t have to involve public fund in Ajaokuta, that is the model we are working on now. As we speak, we are developing a business model to justify that, and this time, with all hands on deck, I think we should get it right.