TUGUEGARAO CITY: The Mines and Geoscience Bureau said government-sanctioned large-scale black sand or magnetite exploration project is ongoing offshore at six coastal towns of Cagayan province.
MGB officials said that the magnetite exploration project which is covered with a permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been going on a few kilometers from the shore in said coastal towns of northern Cagayan.
Engineer Mario Ancheta, MGB director for Region 2, disclosed that the magnetite exploration which has been going on as early as five years ago is conducted offshore the towns of Pamplona, Ballesteros, Aparri, Camalaniugan, Buguey and Gonzaga.
“With Mineral Profit Sharing Agreement (MPSA) permit issued by the [DENR] central office, the ongoing exploration has been going on and off due to unfriendly weather disturbances offshore,” Ancheta said.
MGB officials have identified Cagayan Iron Sand Corporation (CISC) conducting said offshore large-scale black sand exploration with three other magnetite mining firms.
In a related development, MGB officials said that the extraction of black sand in Aparri, Buguey and Gonzaga has been stopped. Black sand mining firms engaging in quarrying and extraction of magnetite in the said towns had already been stopped or suspended pending review of their applications and permits.
“We have also revoked some if the firms’ permits involving the extraction and transport of black sand after we have found out that they have violated mining laws and have operated within the 200-meter mining prohibited zone from the shorelines,” Ancheta said.