Cagayan black sand mining in shore areas, Luzon, Philippines

Ten black sand mining companies operating in the province of Cagayan were suspended, following large negative impacts on coastal communities and the environment. However, illegal mining goes on and continues to threaten people and the environment.


Black sand or magnetite mining is being done now in almost every part of the country. In Cagayan, this is an ongoing problem, with both small scale and large scale miners coming in to gather black sand from both on- and offshore. This is being allowed by the local governments and other executive offices despite the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memo Circular No. 44, s. 2014 clarifications that foreshore mining is not allowed and that there is still a need for a clear guidelines for offshore mining.

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Basic Data
NameCagayan black sand mining in shore areas, Luzon, Philippines
SiteSanchez Mira, Pamplona, Abulug, Ballesteros, Aparri, Buguey and Gonzaga
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific CommoditiesMagnetite sand
Sand, gravel
Project Details and Actors
Project Detailslimited data available


There are several mining permits issued in the areas of Sanchez Mira, Pamplona, Abulug, Ballesteros, Aparri, Buguey and Gonzaga, spanning 15,000-hectares but with different mining companies.

In 2014, the operations of the following companies were suspended:

Lutra Inc.; Yin Ye Mining Co.; Lian Xing Mining; Hua Xia Mining and Trading Corp; Huaxia Resources Corp.; Hao Ren International Mining Group Corp.; Feiron Steel Inc.; Global Express Mining and Dev’t Corp.; Nova International Cagayan KR Corp. ; San You Philippines Mining Trade Ltd.
Project Area (in hectares)15,000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2008
Company Names or State EnterprisesLutra Inc. from Philippines - wholesales, black sand mining
Yin Ye Mining Co. from China - black sand mining
Lian Xing Mining from China - black sand mining
Hua Xia Mining and Trading Corp. from China - mining
Huaxia Resources Corp. from China - black sand mining
Hao Ren International Mining Group Corp. from China - black sand mining
Feiron Steel Inc. from Philippines - steel, black sand mining
Global Express Mining and Dev’t Corp. - black sand mining
Nova International Cagayan KR Corp. from Philippines - trading, black sand mining
San You Philippines Mining Trade Ltd. from China - black sand mining
Relevant government actorsDepartment of Environment and Natural Resources, Mines and Geosciences Bureau

Department of Interior and Local Governmnet
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersConcerned Laloeno Against Illegal Mining (CLAIM)

Alliance for Buguey Committed for Development Association (ALBUCODA)

Federation of Anti-Mining Advocates in Cagayan (FAMAC)

Aparrianos Movement for the Conservation and Environmental Protection (AMCEP)

Alyansa Tigil Mina

The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Social movements
Religious groups
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Oil spills, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Deaths, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseDeaths
Violent targeting of activists
Project temporarily suspended
Anti-mining advocate Gensun Agustin was killed by an unidentified man.
Some operations are currently illegally operated.
Development of AlternativesCagayanons and their support groups are pushing for government support to be able to maximize the agricultural and marine production potential of some areas. Their beach also has tourism potential.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Suspension orders are not respected. Communities affected still report illegal operations of some companies.
Sources and Materials

DILG Memo Circular 44, s. 2014
[click to view]

Philippine Mining Act of 1995
[click to view]


Foreign, local firms raid Cagayan for magnetite (Conclusion)
[click to view]

Activists’ murders spur online protest vs mining (Part 1)

The first half of our investigative report on black sand mining in Cagayan, and how it has cost human lives and the environment.
[click to view]


MGB stops black sand mining operations in Cagayan
[click to view]

Cagayan rejoices over black sand mining suspension
[click to view]

Anti-mining activist shot dead in Cagayan
[click to view]

BI official denies extortion in black sand mining projec
[click to view]

Media Links

Facebook page: Stop black sand mining in Cagayan
[click to view]

Other Documents

Black sand mining in the Philippines
[click to view]

No to mining
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorAlyansa Tigil Mina
Last update11/05/2015