The Central Visayas’ mining bureau said it issued the permit to extract and transport the controversial dolomite that was the source of the synthetic sand being dumped in Manila Bay.
Mining and Geosciences Bureau Central Visayas (MGB-7) confirmed that the dolomite came from Alcoy town in southern Cebu and was produced by the Dolomite Mining Corporation.
The ore transport permit for the dolomite was also issued on August 26, according to MGB-7.
“This dolomite shipment is the reported ‘white sand’ which had been spread along the shoreline of Manila Bay to enhance the aesthetic beauty of the bayfront,” the mining bureau said.
According to a press statement from MGB-7, Dolomite Mining Corporation (DMC) has a 25-year mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) with the government that will expire in 2030.
Mining and transportation permits of less than 5 hectares fall under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), while the MGB-7 could issue permits for sites over 5 hectares.
According to the MGB-7’s database of MPSA, the dolomite mine in Alcoy is 524.61 hectares.
The chairman of the Cebu provincial board's environment committee previously told Rappler that they would look into the mine because no permit was issued by them for the extraction or transport of the dolomite.
But now that the MGB-7 said the permit was issued by them, the environment committee will discuss again if they will pursue an investigation into the mining of the material.
Dolomite Mining Corporation is based in Makati City and lists a certain Philip S Tuazon as its president.
Aside from Manila, the mine ships to local markets in Misamis Oriental, Pasig and Davao. Internationally, the biggest markets for Cebu's dolomite are in Taiwan and Japan.
Critics slammed the project for being unnecessary and possibly harmful to the shoreline of Manila Bay.
It was Department of Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Benny Antiporda who first said the sand was synthetic, made from crushed dolemite, imported from Cebu. – with reports from John Sitchon and Lorraine Ecarma/Rappler.com