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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
Name of conflict:Cagayan black sand mining in shore areas, Luzon, Philippines
State or province:Cagayan
Location of conflict:Sanchez 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:Wetlands and coastal zone management
Mineral ore exploration
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Magnetite sand
Sand, gravel
Project Details and Actors
Project details

limited data available

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Project area:15,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2008
Company names or state enterprises:Lutra 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 actors:Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Mines and Geosciences Bureau
Department of Interior and Local Governmnet
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Concerned 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
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Social movements
Religious groups
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-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-economical 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
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Violent targeting of activists
Project temporarily suspended
Anti-mining advocate Gensun Agustin was killed by an unidentified man.
Some operations are currently illegally operated.
Proposal and development of alternatives:Cagayanons 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Suspension orders are not respected. Communities affected still report illegal operations of some companies.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Philippine Mining Act of 1995
[click to view]

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

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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]

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]

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

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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

Other documents

Black sand mining in the Philippines
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Alyansa Tigil Mina
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1953
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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