Position Paper for the Magnetite Mining Committee Hearing

We oppose the black sand or magnetite mining in Eastern Visayas for the following reasons:

1. Massive Fish Mortality in Lake Bito, Mac Arthur, Leyte

The two waves of fish kill in Lake Bito, Mac Arthur, Leyte which losses 22 tons of tilapia amounting to 1.87 million pesos on the first wave from March 14 to April 15 and the second wave on May 12, 2012 which did not killed the tilapia alone but also affected the shells, shrimp and ducks within the lake were not prevented to happen by the government agencies. Even with the “strict compliance” of Environmental Compliance Certificate and other pertinent documents of the Nicua Mining Company mining magnetite sand since November 2012 in the area and the “close monitoring” of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, DENR, EMB, LGU and other government agencies did not also prevented the damage to the source of food and livelihood of the 90% of the people of Barangay Imelda and its neighboring communities.

Situations similar to this are highly to occur again and again if the concerned government agencies don’t have the capacity and the willingness to strictly supervise mining operations according to the standard procedure which will protect the environment and the source of livelihood of the people.      

2. Dislocation from food source, livelihood and habitat and destruction of environment and agriculture due to extensive area for the Approved and Application for Magnetite Mining in the Region

Mining tenements in the region as of February 2012 cover 507,746.4729 hectares or 24% of the total land area of the region. For the magnetite mining alone it covers 149,535.3760 hectares of 7% of the land area in the region. Approved magnetite exploration and mineral production sharing agreement reaches 53,833.8150 while pending applications cover 95,701.5610 hectares.  Magnetite mining comprises 29% or almost one-third from the total mining area application.  

3. Insignificant benefit for the people compare to the wanton destruction to environment, agriculture and livelihood

With the present orientation of mining industry in the Philippines which is not geared towards national industrialization very little benefit is derived from it by the people.  

It is in this light that we strongly propose for the following:
1. Total stop of magnetite mining operations and moratorium on the applications on magnetite mining in Eastern Visayas and the whole nation.
2. Enact Peoples Mining of 2011 or House Bill 4315 of Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, ACT Teachers and Kabataan.
3. Strengthen the power/capacity of the communities in decision-making for the issuances and/or cancellation of mining permits and monitoring of mining activities.###


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