The Akwa Ibom State Government has closed down a Chinese mining firm, Ruitai Mining Company, for failing to produce an operation licence.
The state’s Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Uno Eno, said this when he briefed reporters in Uyo.
Mr Eno said the firm could not provide authorisation documents for titanium ore mining in Ibeno community of the state.
He said the company had been mining titanium ore quietly in the area, before it was intercepted and ordered to produce relevant documents.
He added that during inspection, it was discovered that the firm could not produce a mining license as well as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report to show impact of its operations on the host community.
“The joint ministerial inspection team included the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Iquo Abia, on arrival at Ibeno community, were conducted round the mining site by the Chairman of Ibeno Local Government Area, High Chief Williams Mkpa.
“The team discovered black clay-like minerals contained in sacks of 50kg, which was identified by the miners as titanium ore.
“On critical examination of the site amidst tight security, the Managing Director of the company, Zeng Zhonghuan and a director, Huang Ying, were not available at the site. The available staff members could not provide any information or documents,” Mr Uno said.
Mr Uno said the Ministry of Environment discovered that the company was purely an exploration company while the board of directors were all Chinese nationals who were not eligible to acquire the small-scale mining licence as claimed.
“Ruitai mining company should terminate its mining operations forthwith, until due clearance legitimising its operation is completed with the state government,” he said. (NAN)