Environment exec opposes ECC for Pangasinan black sand mines | Inquirer News

Environment exec opposes ECC for Pangasinan black sand mines

/ 12:04 AM March 13, 2014

LINGAYEN, Philippines—A company extracting magnetite (black sand) from a coastal area here, where a government-sponsored golf course is proposed to rise, would not be allowed to process an environmental clearance for a mineral processing facility, an Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) official said on Wednesday.

Joel Salvador, EMB Ilocos regional director, said he advised Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to deny the application of Xypher Builders for an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) because it neglected to secure that document when it operated a plant and loading facilities, and before it transported black sand to a private pier in Sual town.

Xypher Builders was contracted by the Pangasinan provincial government to develop its ecotourism site. It applied for an ECC on Feb. 7. Salvador said an inspection by the EMB on Feb. 14 showed an old stockpile of black sand within the plant’s premises, although equipment in the processing facility were corroding.


Salvador said they found approximately 1,000 metric tons of magnetite inside a private port in Sual, which were held there while the company processed its permits.


Salvador said black sand had been hauled as far back as August 2012.

The agency had stopped the proposed golf course and the mineral extraction and processing project because of the absence of ECC.

The golf course project was able to acquire an ECC, but not the mineral processing operations.

During a Wednesday news conference here, Pangasinan officials denied reports that black sand mining continued in four coastal villages of Lingayen town.

The officials, however, admitted that black sand extraction took place in the past.

Alvin Bigay, provincial housing and urban development coordinating officer, said the extraction of black sand had been stopped and a large canvas now covers a stockpile of magnetite.


Carlos Tayag, Ilocos regional director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, said black sand was being removed from an ecotourism area, not for profit, but to cleanse it of minerals that would prevent the growth there of ornamental plants.

Ruben Soriano, an MGB mining engineer, said he inspected the site and found no sign of extraction of black sand.

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A local group, called Aromas, had filed plunder complaints against top Pangasinan officials for allowing black sand to be extracted from the golf course project without securing permits. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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