Leyte Samar Daily Express
TACLOBAN CITY — Militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) has warned anew against allowing the massive mining of magnetite, also called black sand, in the shorelines of Eastern Visayas.
In a statement sent to Leyte Samar Daily Express, Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap said that like harvesting of corals, harvesting black sand is harmful to the marine environment and threatens the lives and livelihood of people in fishing communities.
Hicap said black-sand mining is prohibited under Batasang Pambansang 265, which is still in effect as a law governing magnetite mining in the country.
However, despite the law, there are a total of 107 offshore-mining applications in the Eastern Visayas, 17 of which are for magnetite mining covering several municipalities in Samar, Leyte and Biliran.
“The 17 magnetite offshore mining activities and the rest of 90 offshore mining activities in Region 8 if approved, will usher an era of environmental destruction, perpetual disasters and gross denial of fisherfolk livelihood across the region,” Hicap said.
He added that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is now processing the applications of black-sand mining giants like Nicua Corp. that will cover 5,390
has. of coastal areas in the towns of Tanauan, Tolosa, Julita and Dulag in Leyte; Kando Mining Co., 3,945 has. covering Dulag, Mayorga and Julita towns in Leyte; Rushfield Mining Co., 5,309 has. in Palo, Tanauan and Tacloban City, Leyte; and Minoro Mining and Exploration Corp., 6,375 has. in Alang-alang, Sta. Fe, Jaro, Pastran and Palo, Leyte.
The other firms applying for exploration permits are Citygroup Philippines Corp., 1,694 has. covering Caibiran, Biliran and Naval in Biliran; Asian Mines Inc., 769 has. in Motiong, Samar; Bridestone Mining and Development Corp., 7,252 has. (Hinunangan, Hinundayan and Silago,/ Southern Leyte); Lazarus Mining Corp., 6,205 hectares (Carigara and Capoocan, Leyte); Oregon Mining and Development Corp., 5,099 has. (Babatngon and Barugo); Grand Total Exploration and Mining Corp., 11,686 has. (Babatngon, Barugo, Carigara and Capoocan, Leyte) and another application covering 5,752 has. in the municipalities of Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba and Leyte, all in Leyte; Mt. Morgan Resources and Development Corp., 3,022 has. (Dulag, Leyte), another 15,781 hectares in Tanauan, Tolosa, Dulag, Mayorga, MacArthur and Abuyog, and another Morgan exploration involving 25,312 hectares covering the coastal towns of Basey, Marabut; and Tacloban City and Hedlite Mining Corp., 3,945 has. (Dulag, Julita and Mayorga in Leyte).
“If these magnetite mining applications are approved by the DENR and Malacañang, it will promote widespread displacement, further diminish our coastlines, reduce fish
catch to rock bottom levels and decrease productivity since magnetite mining in coastal areas are inherently destructive of environment,” Hicap said.
He cited as an example the adverse impact of black-sand mining in Botolan, Zambales. Residents of Botolan have complained that the ongoing black-sand
mining had reduced the shoreline by a mile with waves now crashing nearer their homes.
The same environmental disaster is waiting to happen in the Eastern Visayas if the government will continue to entertain black-sand mining activities in the regions, Hicap warned. (REYAN L. ARINTO)