Black sand mining next on environment crackdown

Posted on August 30, 2016

THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said it will review black sand mining operations in the Philippines, picking up from where the previous government left off in its crackdown on miners that fail to meet environmental standards.

“We are reviewing it, which mining we will not go for that will destroy the beaches,” MGB concurrent Director Mario Luis A. Jacinto told reporters last week when asked whether the Duterte government will continue its predecessor’s review of black sand mining operations in the country.

In 2014, the MGB suspended a number of illegal black sand mining operations along the coastline of Cagayan province.

Later that same year, the Mining Industry Coordinating Council, a panel under the purview of the Office of the President, issued a resolution ordering an evaluation of all existing black sand mining operations in the country -- from the issuance of permits to sanctions that may be imposed on companies that violate conditions set by those permits.

“We must make sure that we are able to fully assess, identify where are the possible sources and whether these are viable and whether these are marketable,” Mr. Jacinto said.

Last year, the first report of the interagency Fact-Finding Committee on Illegal Mining entitled “Philippine Mining Unearthed” was launched, flagging quarrying of magnetite black ore or black sand as the most common form of illegal mining operations.

Top markets for black sand exports are China and Taiwan. -- JCL