“No build zones will pave way for black sand mining operations”

MANILA, Philippines – The national government’s no-build zones on the coasts of Eastern Visayas will only pave the way for large scale black sand mining operations, fisherfolk group Pamalakaya warned on Friday.

Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France said the marking of “no-build zones” on the coasts of Eastern Visayas was not meant for construction of green walls of mangroves and beach forest to protect such areas from coming storm surge but to clear them for large-scale black sand mining operations.

France said  the Aquino government will exploit the situation of areas hit by supertyphoon Yolanda to justify the entry of magnetite mining companies in Samar and Leyte provinces.

“There are 107 black sand mining projects all over Region 3 awaiting the seal of approval of Malacañang and the Aquino administration will most likely capitalize on the no-build zone policy to accommodate magnetite mining in the very near future,” France said.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Thursday announced that it has finished marking “no-build zones” on the coasts of Eastern Visayas that were severely destroyed by Yolanda.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje said the no-build zone markings will pave the way for the construction of mangroves to improve the defense barrier of coastal communities surrounding the provinces of Samar and Leyte.

The  Aquino administration has initially allotted P350 million for a massive coastal rehabilitation of Eastern Visayas, particularly Leyte and its capital city, Tacloban that would entail restoration of…coastal forests and make the region’s coastlines less vulnerable to extreme weather events.

“Please allow us to inform the public that magnetite mining in the Region III, if not stopped will cover 149, 535 hectares of foreshore areas in Samar and Leyte, including those areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda last November…The coastal areas of Eastern Visayas are primed for destructive magnetite mining and not for rehabilitation,” France said.

France said the proliferation of black sand mining in Eastern Visayas is an open book.

Nicua Mining Corp., the alleged culprit behind the fish kill in Lake Bito has pending applications for blacksand mining in the coastal municipalities of Tanauan, Tolosa, Julita at Dulag which cover 5,390 hectares, the group said.

The group said other companies with pending blacksand mining applications include Kando Mining Corp. (3, 945 hectares), Rushfield Mining Co. (5,309 hectares), Minoro Mining and Exploration Corp. (6,375 hectares), City Group Philippines Corp. (1,694 hectares), Bridestone Mining and Development Corp. (7,252 hectares), Lazarus Mining Corp. (6,205 hectares), Grand Total Exploration and Mining Corp. with (17, 438 hectares) spread in 10 coastal municipalities of Leyte.

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