Foreigners nabbed for black sand extraction in Zambales
Ten foreigners, most of them Chinese, were arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation for extracting black sand and lahar from a river in Zambales province.
NBI Deputy Director Czar Nuqui said the suspects were caught in the act operating a dredging vessel that was drawing lahar and black sand from Macolcol River in San Felipe town on Saturday.
Nuqui identified them as Zhining Tang, Liao Nantu, Yichang Lin, Zhibin Xu, Jingwei Chen, Hongming Zhou, Wen Haihu, Yong Wang and Tang Peilong, all of them Chinese; and Afrixon Hary, an Indonesian.
The NBI, he said, received information that the dredging activities lacked permits from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Maritime Industry Authority.
Nuqui said the suspects were arrested as they were about to transport the sand to a bigger vessel. While the ship’s country of origin was still being determined, he said NBI personnel reported that the vessel’s name was “written in Chinese characters.”
The confiscated vessels include a dredger vessel registered in Fiji, a tugboat and three dumb barges.
Nuqui said lahar and black sand collected from the river were “intended for the foreign market,” as minerals such as magnetite could be extracted from these.
The foreigners, he said, were commissioned by local firms. They are facing 10 years of imprisonment for violating Republic Act No. 7942 (Mining Act of 1995).
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