English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Setback for China as Nigeria shuts down shady titanium mining company

Akwa Ibom Governor Pastor Uno Eno during inspection of an international market project in the state, last month (Image courtesy: Akwa Ibom State Government)

A Chinese company which had been mining titanium ore “quietly” and without any authorisation documents has been shut down by the Nigerian government with immediate effect.

The local administration of Akwa Ibom, one of the largest oil-producing states in Nigeria, terminated the operations of Chinese mining firm Ruitai Mining Company for its involvement in illegitimate mining of titanium ore.

Earlier this week, the Nigerian media quoted Uno Etim Eno, the local commissioner for environment and mineral resources, as saying that the Chinese firm could not provide authorisation documents for titanium ore mining in Ibeno – a small town in South Nigeria bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

The joint ministerial inspection team, which also conducted round of the mining site, found “material that resembled black mud” (later identified as titanium ore) hidden in 50kg sack bags.

Nigeria minerals
(Map courtesy: Google Maps)

It was reported that, following the discoveries, the government hired the police and military to guard the location until the company could show that it was still authorised to operate and submit the required paperwork proving its right to extract the mineral.

“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. Ruitai Mining Company should terminate its mining operations forthwith, until due clearance legitimising its operation is completed with the state government,” said Uno.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, has also ordered a detailed investigation into the activities of another Chinese manufacturing company, Golden Tripod Limited, in the region following reports of environmental pollution from the factory.

“Commissioner for Environment and Commissioner for Internal security, I want to have a report on what this factory manufactures,” ordered Eno.

Nigeria is rich in a variety of natural resources, raging from precious metals various stones to industrial such as Barites, Gypsum, Kaolin and Marble with most of these yet to be exploited.

Crude oil in the Niger Delta was first discovered at Ikot Akata, in what is now Akwa lbom state, during the early 1950s. The region is endowed with various minerals resources which prompted the local government to partner with private firms for their commercial exploitation.

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), an online data visualization and distribution platform, China ($4.3M) remains the main destination of titanium ore exports from Nigeria and also the fastest-growing export market for the African nation.

The demand for titanium has been increasing gradually all over the world and so has been its use in a variety of fields – ranging from aerospace development to nuclear power and chemical plants, marine structures, architectural roofing materials, golf clubs, artificial joints and other everyday products.

Also Read: India needs to be wary of Chinese private security companies in Africa: Report