MANILA, Dec. 2, 2011—The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to reject the 158 black sand (magnetite) mining applications pending on the said office for it would be disastrous to the marine ecology surrounding the area of mining operations.
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap, in a statement said, the 158 black sand mining applications are centered in the Ilocos region, both in the northern parts of the island of Luzon. Most of the applications are concentrated in La Union, Pangasinan and Ilocos Norte provinces. There are also applications for Ilocos Sur.
The fisherfolk leader disclosed that there are 15 magnetite mining applications in the onshore and offshore areas of San Juan (2, offshore), Bacnotan (2 offshore), Balaoan (2 offshore), Luna (1 offshore), Bangar (2, 1 offshore, 1 onshore), Pugo (1 onshore), Burgos (1 onshore), Santol (1 onshore) and Sudipen (3 onshore), all in La Union province. Meanwhile, 57 blacksand mining applications are pending for Ilocos Sur region: four (4) in Tagudin, 4 in Sta.Cruz, 5 in Sta. Lucia, 4 in Candon City, 4 in Santiago, 4 in San Esteban, 5 in Sta. Maria, 5 in Narvacan, 8 in Santa, 5 in Caoayan, 4 in Sta.Catalina and 4 in Vigan City.
In Ilocos Norte, there are 86 applications that cover the towns of Badoc (6), Pinili (3) Paoay (3), Laoag (3), Currimao (4), Bacarra (3), Pasuquin (13), Burgos (4), Bangui (1), Pagudpud (2), Batac (1), Banna (5), Nueva Era (7), Marcos (6), Solsona (3), Carasi (5), Dingras (5), Vintar (6), Adams (2), Piddig (3) and Dumalneg (1).
“These magnetite mining applications are selling like hotcakes in Ilocos Region. We appeal to DENR Secretary Ramon Paje to stop this dime-a-dozen approval of blacksand exploration permits,” he said.
The fisherfolk leader also said that the majority of black sand mining applications in Northwestern Luzon were filed by Vancouver-based Colossal Mining, covering about 80 percent of shores of Lingayen Gulf, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.
Pamalakaya also disclosed that Grand Total Exploration and Mining Corporation will explore at least 33,000 hectares in the offshore and onshore areas of Tagudin, Sta.Cruz, Sta Lucia, Candon City, Santiago, Narvacan, Santa, Caoayan, Sta. Catalina, San Vicente, Vigan, Sto.Domingo, Magsingal, San Juan and Cabugao in Ilocos Sur.
The group also said that a mining company headed by Randy Singson, the son of Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Crisologo “Chavit” Singson, will explore 21,753 hectares of offshore waters in the towns of Bauang, Caba, Aringay, Agoo and Sto. Tomas in La Union, all for the quest of black sand.
Hicap, on the other hand said, that they will call the attention of lawmakers representing the provinces of the said regions to oppose the planned offshore and on-shore mining of black sand for the sake of the environment and the livelihood of the people living near the proposed areas of operations.
Hicap also said that they will ask Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano to initiate an investigation on the issuance of magnetite mining permits in Region 1 and its impact on the environment and livelihood of small fisherfolk. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]