Akwa Ibom State Government has ordered the Chinese company carrying out illegal mining activities in the state to shut down.
Speaking during a courtesy visit, the Hon. Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources of the state, Chief Uno Etim Uno, told newsmen in Uyo on Tuesday that the illegal mining activities were discovered and Shut down on Monday in Ibeno Local government of the state.
Uno with his counterpart in the Ministry of Internal Security, Brigadier General Koko Essien (retd) were conducted round the Chinese-owned mining company, Ruitai Mining Company, in Esuk Ikim Akeme community, Ibeno by the Chairman of Ibeno LGA, High Chief Williams Mkpa, where black clay-like minerals was uncovered, contained in sack bags of 50kg, and described by the miners as Titanium Ore.
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.
The team ordered that the company should terminate its mining operations forthwith, until due clearance legitimizing its operations is completed with the state government.
The company’s management were asked to approach the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources(MEMR) on or before Friday, 1st September, 2023 with all the relevant papers authorizing its operations, with full coordination of the area approved for its mining operations.
All security operatives, within the company’s premises, should be withdrawn from the mining site, while the Divisional Police Officer, Ibeno, Superintendent Victor Ezekwu, should enforce the directive in order to ensure strict compliance.
A critical investigation of the site amidst tight security, Ruitai Mining Company is purely an exploration company, and the company’s Board of Directors comprises only Chinese, thus, not eligible to acquire the Small-scale Mining License as claimed.
Other anomalies discovered by the team showed that the Company has not conducted the Environmental Impacts Assessment ( EIA) in its mining operations.
The company has not submitted the Environmental Management Plan (EMP), among others.