Akwa Ibom Terminates Operations of Chinese Mining Firm

The Akwa Ibom State Government has ordered a Chinese firm, Ruitai, to stop further mining operations in the state until it’s duly cleared by the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources.

The Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Uno Uno, handed down the order during an unscheduled inspection tour of the firm’s mining site, located in Esuk Ikim Akeme community, Ibeno Local Government Area of the state.

The commissioner was accompanied to the site by his counterpart in the Ministry of Internal Security, Brig-Gen. Koko Essien (retd), on Monday.

But speaking during a media interaction with newsmen on Tuesday, Uno said the inspection team discovered black clay-like minerals contained in sack bags of 50 kilogrammes, which the miners identified as Titanium Ore.

He said, “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.

“At the end of the inspection tour, we were able to discover that the company is purely an exploration company. Its Board of Directors comprises only Chinese, thus, not eligible to acquire the small-scale mining licence as claimed.

“We also discovered that the company has not conducted the Environmental Impacts Assessment in its mining operations and has not submitted the Environmental Management Plan, among other abnormalities.”

The commissioner said in view of the above anomalies, the inspection team recommended, “That Ruitai Mining Company should terminate its mining operations forthwith until due clearance legitimising its operations is completed with the state government.

“That the Company should approach the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources on or before Friday, 1st September, 2023, with all the relevant papers authorising its operations, with full coordination of the area approved for its mining operations.”

“That all security operatives should be withdrawn from the mining site, while the DPO of Ibeno LGA, SP Victor Ezekwu, should enforce the directive in order to ensure strict compliance,” the statement added.