BY LEANDER C. DOMINGO, TMT ON
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: A national government-sanctioned mining company is gearing up for initial exploration activities off Cagayan waters to see the possibility of extracting black sand or magnetite near three coastal towns in the province.
Napoleon de Leon Jr., JDVC Resources Corp. president, however, said the company has not yet been able to extract samples in the area because of big waves which hampered their initial studies.
The black sand exploration will reportedly be conducted off the waters in the towns of Gonzaga, Santa Ana and Aparri contrary to reports that it will be conducted on shore or near shorelines.
Black sand or magnetite is used as additive in the manufacture of concrete and steel products, magnets, paint, ink, paper, jewelry and cosmetics. It is a highly priced commodity in China and Taiwan.
Black sand is also an important component in power plants.
“We are still in the initial stage of the process and that we have not started any commercial extraction yet,” De Leon said.
According to JDVC, they will follow all the processes of responsible mining that former environment secretary Gina Lopez recommended in line with the Duterte administration’s policies.
The Cagayan provincial government also confirmed initial black sand mining exploration activities in the three coastal towns but denied any agreement or involvement with any mining operations being conducted anywhere in the province.
The Cagayan Provincial Information Office (CPIO), in a media statement said JDVC is conducting offshore mining exploration in the province and the provincial government only learned of it when officials visited several coastal towns to inspect any mining activities there.
Gov. Manuel Mamba said he visited Gonzaga and found out that JDVC will conduct explorations under the national government and the Department of Science and Technology (DoST).
The DoST initially considered four provinces but only identified Cagayan and Leyte as having the potential for offshore black sand mining and the establishment of plants extracting magnetite.
Mamba also urged JDVC to educate the people of Cagayan, particularly in Gonzaga, on the effects of offshore mining on the environment and advised them to conduct a media conference with former secretary Lopez and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
Meanwhile, Mario Ancheta, MGB Cagayan Valley (Region 2) director, said they will only allow mining operations in the region if Philippine mining laws and regulations are strictly complied with.
“They should have the necessary permit or clearance to conduct black sand or any mining activity in the region and those who cannot comply or violate mining laws will be declared illegal and will have to cease operation,” Ancheta said.