SC issues writ vs black sand mining | Inquirer News

SC issues writ vs black sand mining

By: - Correspondent / @yzsoteloINQ
/ 08:37 PM May 18, 2012

DAGUPAN CITY—The Supreme Court has issued a writ of kalikasan against large-scale mining activities along the Ilocos coastline, a breakthrough that could pave the way for the stoppage of more black sand mining operations in the country, said Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño.

In an en banc decision on  May 8, the Supreme Court issued the writ against government officials involved in the approval of two exploration permits and granting of financial and technical assistance agreement (FTAA) to Altamina Exploration and Development Corp. (Altamina).

The high court referred the case to the Court of Appeals for hearing, reception of evidence and rendition of judgment, and ordered the respondents to make a verified return of the writ before the CA within 10 days from receipt of the notice.


The FTAA covers an area of 9,588.2398 hectares in the coastal and offshore areas of Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan, where magnetite sand and other minerals are extracted.



The high court acted on a petition of a group led by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, Casiño and 27 other representatives, local officials and church leaders because of “violations of the constitutional rights of the residents of the [towns] and cities [in the three provinces], to a balanced and healthful ecology.”

Named respondents were President Aquino, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and Altamina.

The petitioners sought the court’s intervention because they said ships and machines involved in mining operations were “near the shoreline of the affected areas, and actual mining operations continue, bringing hazardous effects to the people’s and communities’ health and safety.”

Casiño said that if the CA would decide in their favor, it could be used as basis to stop black sand mining activities in other provinces, like Cagayan.

“What is important is that the court has taken cognizance of our appeal. This is a big step because it is the first time that a writ was issued against black sand mining,” Casiño told the Inquirer by telephone on Friday.


Casiño, however, said the high court did not grant the petition for the issuance of a temporary environmental protection order (Tepo),  which means the company could still continue extracting magnetite sand.

Casiño authored House Resolution No. 2097 in February calling for a probe on black sand mining operations affecting the foreshore land, shorelines and ecosystems in Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, Cagayan and other provinces in the country.


Casiño, in a separate statement, called the FTAA granted to Altamina as irregular because their reports indicated that no public hearing was held for the project.

“The mining activities are offshore and so the people do not see what is happening out in the sea. Included in the petition for the writ is for the company to give proper information to the residents,” he said.

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The regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Environmental Management Bureau and Mines and Geosciences Bureau have not received a copy of the writ on Friday.

TAGS: Altamina, Ilocos, Laws, Mining

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