Offshore mining with restriction

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Offshore MIning Chamber of the Philippines (OMCP) said only mining firms with the  expertise and proper technology should be allowed to undetake mining operations  to prevent further shoreline erosion in the country.

The group also supports proposals for a ban on sand mining in some coastal towns in the Ilocos region.

“The OMCP expressed its support for the ban on coastal mining following the position expressed by Probinsyano Ako party list representative Jose “Bonito” Singson, Jr. during a congressional hearing against the practice of some mining firms, especially those owned by the Chinese, to extract sand from shorelines in Ilocos region in search of magnetite iron,“ the group said.

Singson was quoted in news reports last week saying that massive black sand mining was happening in the Luzon coastline, allegedly conducted by Chinese firms.

He said a ban on the export of black sand ore or magnetite should be imposed.

The OMCP also emphasized that the offshore mining guidelines issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)  in 2016 bars mining within the 500 meters from the shorelines to offshore to prevent possible coastal erosion, and no mining 200 meters from shoreline to inland areas of any coastal town is likewise prohibited.

The guidelines also stress that proper and adequately evaluated Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) must be secured from the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau by offshore mining firms, while dredgers or mining vessels to be used must also have environmental impact assessment from country of design and/or manufacture.

In addition, the guidelines also state that companies involved in offshore mining or dredging must have ISO certificates on their offshore mining or dredging standards of operation for environmental protection and ecological balance.

Offshore mining firms must also be adequately capitalized as environmentally safe and ecologically balanced offshore mining vessels should be  capital intensive and complete with experienced technical people.

The group emphasized that before any export shipment could  be made,  a mineral ore export permit duly passed upon by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for the proper payment four percent of excise taxes and proper payment of Mineral Reservation Fees to DENR-MGB of five percent must be secured.

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