The Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) has issued a resolution ordering the review of all black sand mining permits in a bid to address the environmental and socio-economic issues hounding the mining activity.
Under MICC Resolution 4, or the “Adoption of Immediate Measures to Address Black sand Mining Operations in the Country,” the interagency body outlined several measures for the review of all permits issued to mining companies.
In a telephone interview, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno said the resolution was issued to resolve environmental and socio-economic issues as well as curb violations of existing mining laws, rules, and regulations.
He noted that the resolution primarily aimed to subject all permits issued to black sand miners to review in order to determine whether existing regulations have been followed.
“There are instances where permits for gravel and sand quarrying were being used for black sand mining operations, which is clearly illegal, so we have to check all these permits. We will impose appropriate sanctions,” the MGB chief said.
He also explained that the MICC has appointed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to directly control and supervise the dredging of rivers or river deltas.
“Permitting for dredging and quarrying activities in rivers should be under the DPWH, not the local government units. This is a more streamline permitting process,” Jasareno said.
He added that he has instructed all MGB regional offices to strictly comply with the new measures, saying that the consolidated compliance report have already resulted in the suspension of several illegal black sand mining operations in Cagayan and Ilocos Sur.