Philippines detains 18 Chinese for illegal mining



MANILA – The Philippines has detained 18 Chinese men on suspicion of illegal black sand mining in the northern coastal town of Aparri, the justice department said Tuesday.

Authorities say there has been a rise in the illegal extraction of magnetite – also known as black sand – which is an iron ore in huge demand by China’s steel mills.

Justice department investigators raided two mine sites run by Chinese firm Hua Xia Mining and Trading Corp. last Thursday and detained 18 of its employees, department spokesman Alex Lactao told AFP.

The company had a permit to dredge magnetite from a nearby river but not from the coast, he said. It is illegal to extract any minerals within 200 meters (656 feet) of a beach under Philippine law.

“Nine Chinese nationals were burrowing and processing magnetite sand within the prohibited zone,” said Lactao.

The other nine were arrested at a nearby beach where they were building a magnetite processing plant, he added.

Environmental groups say illegal magnetite mining has been stripping Philippine coasts through erosion.

They have blamed small-scale mining firms, most of them allegedly Chinese and often operating in collusion with shady local government officials, for the devastation.

The men detained in Aparri lacked permits required to work in the Philippines and could face further criminal charges, said Lactao, adding they have now been handed over to the immigration bureau.

The justice department launched a third raid in the northern town of San Vicente on Saturday but found the site, previously operated by another Chinese outfit, had been abandoned, the official said.

The raid teams seized mining equipment from all three sites as well as 1,500 tons of magnetite concentrate from the Aparri operations, he added.

Chinese embassy spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Under the Philippines’s mining laws, the environment ministry has regulatory oversight over large operations but not small-scale miners, who are defined as using only light equipment and no explosives.

Instead small-scale miners are licensed by local governments, which often lack the expertise or will to properly supervise them.

Black-sand miners are increasingly flouting the law by mining near the nation’s beaches, Carlos Tayag, Mines and Geosciences Bureau director for the northwestern Philippines, told AFP in May.

Reports of Chinese nationals breaking these laws have occurred frequently in recent years.

Authorities arrested 80 Chinese miners from one chromite mine in Zambales in 2010, and another eight at a similar chromite operation in the central island of Samar last year.

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  • ynigooctaviano

    This is the fault of the Dept of Tourism. By giving visas to mainland Chinese who come here as “tourists” kuno and engage in illegal activities who in turn get away by bribing local officials. Some Asian countries like South Korea require police clearances from the applicant’s countries before they are even given tourist visas to visit South Korea. The PHL should learn and get smart. In the name of tourism but the criminals are able to get tourist visas without the necessary safeguards.

  • kinutil

    Dapat ibalik ang death penalty Para maubos yang lahi ni Renato Reyes ang mga palamon ng China.

  • johnlordphilip

    The local government that allowed this mining should also be investigated.

    • boni-m

      and thrown to jail together with those chinese illegals!

  • barry p

    What a blatant criminal opportunistic arrogance.

    These people who are known to destroy the environment for profit is doing it on our very own soil….and they do not seem to fear our laws and our people.

    Have we lost our self-respect as a people to have allowed this abomination to happen???

    I agree so much about what what was said, about those local officials and bureaucrats as being SAKDAL HUDAS.

    Ipinagbili ang bayan sa ilang pirasong pilak. Pilak na hindi magtatagal, pilak na sisingilin sa kanila sa ibang paraan.

    To PNOY government — please reassure us that these people will be brought to justice and that they will never be back to exploit our land again!

  • DGuardian

    Dapat ay kusa nang naiisip ni Presidente Aquino at ng lahat ng mga mambabatas na dapat itigil ang anumang pagmimina sa Pilipinas at kung sakaling kailangan ngang i-tap ng gobyerno ang mga ito upang kumita ng pera o kaya ay magamit natin sa sariling pangangailangan ng ating bansa ay ang gobyerno mismo ang dapat na siyang mag-explore at mag-exploit sa mga ores natin at hindi sinumang private nationals or entities, whether Filipino or foreign. Pinapayagan ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas at ng mga Pilipinong nakatira sa coastal areas na nakawin ng mga Chinese ang ating black sand at iba pang mga mineral resources. Sa Japan at sa South Korea ay hindi kailan man mangyayari ito, dahil ang mga Japanese at mga South Koreans ay patriotic at hindi corrupt gaya ng mga Pilipino na sobrang tiwali at nakakalungkot na nabibili ng pera at ipagbibili ang bayan, mula sa mga opisyales ng bansa hanggang sa mga nakatira sa tabing-dagat. Lalo tuloy lumiliit ang land area ng Pilipinas.

  • johndoe_phil

    Harsher punishment and bigger fines for foreigners committing illegal acts in the Philippines!!!

  • Noel Noel Munro

    Nakalalason ng kalikasan ang magmina ng Rare Earth, 10 times ang Toxic Waste na ipproduce sa pageextract nito. Yan din ang dahilan kung bakit hindi ginagalaw ng US ang kanilang Rare Earth deposit.

    posted on MARCH 12, 2013

    Japanese company Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. (SMM) announced, through a statement posted on its website, that it will be constructing a scandium recovery plant on thePhilippines‘ Palawan Island later this year, which it expects to be operational in 2014. This could spell the start of the country’s first venture into the rare earths mining industry.

    Scandium is a silvery-white metallic transition metal, which is commonly used to make high-intensity light bulbs. It is combined with mercury vapor lamps so that it will be able to emit light similar to that of the sun. It is also used in baseball bats and bikes to make them much sturdier. According to SMM, scandium is found in the ore used by its majority-owned subsidiary Coral Bay Nickel Corp. (CBNC) to make nickel-cobalt mixed sulfide.

    With the end of having more efficient operations, SMM have been developing a scandium recovery method at its Niihama Research Laboratories in Ehime Prefecture. In the wake of its supposed success, it also announced in the statement that it was able to create technology enabling efficient recovery of scandium from the nickel-cobalt mixed sulfide production process. According to Nickel Asia Corp. yesterday, Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp., which it co-owns with SMM, will likely adopt the technology if found successful. “It will represent the country’s first production of a rare earth element, an important step in the development of the Philippines’ mineral resources,” it claimed.

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