Cagayan task force out to halt black sand mining

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TUGUEGARAO CITY: The newly created Cagayan Black Sand Mining Task Force has strengthened its operations against illegal black sand mining along the shorelines of northern Cagayan province.

In collaboration with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the crew was in the coastal town of Buguey on Tuesday on orders to dismantle all illegal operations of extractions and black sand mining in the area.

Mario Ancheta, MGB director for Region 2, said all mining companies operating within the prohibited zones were ordered to stop their operation.

“I have already issued cease-and-desist orders on all mining companies found operating within the 200-meter prohibited zone from the shorelines,” he said.

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Ancheta said charges were filed against the 18 Chinese rounded up by the NBI and MGB operatives earlier this month in Barangays Dodan and Paddaya in Aparri coastal town allegedly engaged in the illegal extraction of black sand there.

They were earlier identified as Wang Wendong, Yang Yongliang, Ma Peihua, Zhu Liren, Hou Linlin, Fu Yujun, Xiao Peibao, Li Wenyong, Lu Liming, Jin Dejun, Li Laijie, Wang Cheng, Jiang Bin, Lin Qiang, Xu Jiajun, Jiang Nan, Zheng Feng, and Wang Gonglian.

“The charges we filed were for violation of the Mining Act of 1995 and theft of minerals,” he said adding these foreign nationals were employed by the Hua Xia Trading and Mining Corp.

Hua Xia was earlier ordered stopped in a “cease and desist order” by the MGB after reports that the company had been operating within the prohibited zone.

However, officials of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation in Aparri town said they have released the Chinese nationals on recognizance to their company while facing charges filed against them before the prosecutor’s office in Cagayan.

Eva Antiporda, alien control officer of the Bureau of Immigration-Aparri District, said the Chinese entered the country with tourist visa.

The Cagayan Black Sand Mining Task Force was organized by the Office of the President’s Mining Industry Coordinating Council appointing Secretary Manuel Mamba as its head.

Mamba, also head of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, said the Task Force has with it the NBI, MGB and police forces as members which led the series of operations in the stoppage of illegal black sand mining in Cagayan.

Reports said that the operations on illegal black sand mining were initially given permits by local government units to conduct dredging of the heavily silted Cagayan River; now also issued with small-scale mining permits.

”Black sand mining has been generating billions of pesos, which only flows into the pockets of those abetting the activity, including some influential politicians in the province,” Mamba said in his earlier pronouncement.

He said there would be “no sacred cows in our efforts to eradicate these illegal activities and no amount of money can compensate the irreparable damage these unscrupulous miners and their patrons have been doing to our environment.”

”We have to save our shores for us and for the future generations,” Mamba said.

Cagayan’s northern coastlines as well as along the shores in the Ilocos Region and Zambales provinces are rich in black sand resources which command a high price in foreign markets.

Black sand is used as additive in manufacturing concrete and steel products, magnets, paint, ink, paper, jewelry and cosmetics.

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