The Akwa Ibom government has closed down a Chinese mining firm, Ruitai Mining Company, for failing to produce an operation licence.
Uno Etim Eno, the commissioner for environment and mineral resources, disclosed this to journalists in Uyo.
Mr Eno said the firm could not provide authorisation documents for titanium ore mining in Ibeno.
He said the Chinese company had been mining titanium ore secretly in the area, before it was intercepted and ordered to produce relevant documents.
Mr Eno added that during inspection, it was discovered that the firm could not produce a mining licence 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,” said the commissioner.
Mr Eno added, “On critical examination of the site amidst tight security, the managing director and director of the company, Zeng Zhonghuan and Huang Ying, were not available at the site. The available staff members could not provide any information or documents.”
Mr Uno said that the ministry of environment discovered that the company was an exploration company while the board of directors are all Chinese nationals 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,” said Mr Eno.