Bureau orders closure of black sand mining firm

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APARRI, Cagayan: The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has issued a closure order against a Chinese mining firm engaged in black sand mining in Cagayan’s coastal villages of Paddaya and Dodang.

Mario Ancheta, MGB director for Cagayan Valley, ordered Huaxia Trading and Mining Corporation Inc. (HTMCI) to “cease and desist” from extracting black sand outside their mining area.

Rounded up on Thursday and Friday by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) were 18 Chinese officers and employees of HTMCI: Wang Wendong, Yang Yongliang, Ma Peihua, Zhu Liren, Hou Linlin, Fu Yujun, Xiao Peibao, Li Wenyong, Lu Liming, Jin Dejun, Li Laijie, Wang Chengqiang, Jiang Bin, Lin Qiang, Xu Jiajun, Jiang Nan, Zheng Feng, and Wang Gonglian.

Eva Antiporda, alien control officer of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID), said detaining the suspects is not possible due to limited facilities in Aparri and the absence of case filed against them.

“However, we are requiring them to stay put at the BID premises. We have already assigned security to closely monitor their movements while further investigation is being conducted,” she added.

Light equipment were confiscated and brought to the MGB grounds in Tuguegarao City while fixed machineries at sites in Aparri were all placed under the custody of proper authorities.

In collaboration with the NBI, Ancheta said the stoppage order came as a response to findings that the mining firm was operating within the “prohibited or protected zone” of 200 meters from the mean low tide level along the beach.

“We are now preparing to file charges against the firms and possibly impose damages against them” Ancheta said.

Last month, the MGB has also ordered two mining firms in Gonzaga town to stop their operations, which were feared to have affected more than 100 hectares of aqua farms in Santa Teresita. Land Wealth, a Filipino-owned firm, and Lian Xing, a Chinese-Taiwanese owned company, reportedly extended their operations along the coast of Barangay Caraoan in Gonzaga town, which is already beyond the MGB-authorized mining areas.

Used as additive in manufacturing concrete and steel products, magnets, paint, ink, paper, jewelry, and cosmetics, black sand commands a high price in foreign markets.

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