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Nation

MGB ready to stop black sand mining in Cagayan

Charlie Lagasca - The Philippine Star

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is ready to stop all black sand mining operations in Cagayan if Malacañang upholds the resolution of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) for their stoppage.  

Engineer Mario Ancheta, MGB director for Cagayan Valley, said they would abide by any decision of President Aquino on the fate of the black sand mining industry in the country’s northernmost mainland province.

“We will stop all (black sand mining) operations in Cagayan if the President says so,” he said.

Ancheta, however, said the existing mining firms extracting black sand in Cagayan are legal with their operations being continuously monitored.

Black sand or magnetite is used as an additive in the manufacturing of concrete and steel products, magnets, paint, ink, paper, jewelry and cosmetics, making it a lucrative commodity in foreign markets such as in China and Taiwan. 

Mining firms extracting black sand in Cagayan are reportedly owned or being run or financed mostly by Chinese and Taiwanese nationals, whose permits to operate were either given by the MGB or concerned local government units.

Black sand extraction is also reportedly being undertaken in the Ilocos region, Zambales and parts of the Visayas.     

The MICC recently passed a resolution calling on the President to stop all black sand mining operations in the country, citing their adverse effects on coastal communities and the ecosystem.

The MICC, co-chaired by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, is under the Office of the President.

A ranking Palace official said the President is seriously considering the MICC recommendation and would come out with a decision within the month.

The MICC resolution came after the Cagayan black sand mining task force led by Secretary Manuel Mamba of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office sought the suspension of black sand extraction in the province pending a review of the permits of mining firms.

“It was the MICC which recommended its suspension throughout the country. This came after our task force sought its suspension in Cagayan,” Mamba said.

Mamba cited the dangers the extraction of black sand would bring to coastal folk and the environment, especially in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas.

Stopping or suspending black sand extraction, according to Mamba, would allow the government to review the permits of the mining firms engaged in it.

“Their current permits are not enough to conduct mining, especially since these mining firms are exporting the minerals,” he said.

BLACK

CAGAYAN

CAGAYAN VALLEY

CHINA AND TAIWAN

CHINESE AND TAIWANESE

ENGINEER MARIO ANCHETA

ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES SECRETARY RAMON PAJE AND FINANCE SECRETARY CESAR PURISIMA

MINES AND GEOSCIENCES BUREAU

MINING

SAND

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