Please zoom in or out and select the base layer according to your preference to make the map ready for printing, then press the Print button above.

Cagayan black sand mining in shore areas, Luzon, Philippines


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.

Black sand mining has been opposed by Church and peoples organizations since the beginning. Initial research shows that magnetite mining causes agricultural and environmental problems. Black sand mining in coastal areas result in coastal erosion, inundation of communities, and degradation of marine ecosystem.

In 2009, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) sent a team to look into the reported beach erosion in Cagayan province, reportedly due to the illegal black sand mining operations in the area. In 2010, an anti-mining leader was killed.

In February 2014, the government suspended mining operations there, however there are still illegal mining operations in the area.

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


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: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

DILG Memo Circular 44, s. 2014 Circulars/MemoCircs/2014-44 Directing all Local Chief Executives to be Strictly Guided by the Legal Restriction on Balck Sand and Beach Mining.pdf

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

Foreign, local firms raid Cagayan for magnetite (Conclusion)

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.

Cagayan rejoices over black sand mining suspension

Anti-mining activist shot dead in Cagayan

BI official denies extortion in black sand mining projec

MGB stops black sand mining operations in Cagayan

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Facebook page: Stop black sand mining in Cagayan

Other documents

Black sand mining in the Philippines

Meta information

Contributor:Alyansa Tigil Mina
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1953



No to mining