Black sand mining operations under scrutiny
MANILA, Philippines – The Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) has issued a resolution in an attempt to thwart the proliferation of illegal mining operations.
The MICC issued resolution No. 4 or the “Adoption of Immediate Measures to Address Black Sand Mining Operations in the Country."
The review of existing black sand mining operations is in order to curb the proliferation of illegal mining operations.
Black sand, or magnetite, is a component in steel production. Many black sand miners in the Philippines export to smelters in China.
Under the Mining Act of 1995, no mineral extraction shall be allowed within one kilometer (km) from the boundaries of reservoirs established for public water supply, archaeological, and historic sites, and any public works. Also, mineral extraction is prohibited within 500 meters from the coast.
There were studies by environmental groups showing that black sand mining operations contributed to the depletion of fisheries, erosion of land, and severe flooding in coastal and riverside communities.
Thus, the resolution include the review of all permits issued for black sand mining by concerned agencies, including the imposition of appropriate sanctions for violations of conditions in the permit.
The MICC also designated the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as the supervisor of river delta dredging activities to prevent the abuse of dredging permits issued by local government units.
There had been instances when dredging permit holders misused their permits to extract magnetite.
The MICC also mandated the enforcement of existing laws, rules, and regulations in black sand mining by concerned agencies.
“The measures on black sand mining were created to resolve the issues on the environment and socio-economic conditions in the localities, as well as the violations of the existing laws, rules and regulations,” the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said.
The MGB has also been coordinating with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to stop the illicit operations of black sand miners in provinces like Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, and Cagayan, among others.
Also, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered local government chief executives to strictly enforce restrictions on black sand and beach mining to prevent the destruction of coastlines and stop the minerals’ illegal extraction. – Rappler.com