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14 Chinese nabbed in CamSur illegal mining site

By Dennis Carcamo

MANILA, Philippines - Authorities busted an operation of illegal black sand mining in Camarines Norte, arresting 14 Chinese and seizing around P12 million worth of minerals, heavy equipment, the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) said on Friday.

Based on a report to the PAOCC, last Thursday's raid followed two similar operations in Aparri, Cagayan where authorities dismantled three Chinese-operated illegal black sand mining companies and recovered around P25 million worth of minerals and heavy equipment.

Arrested during the Camarines Sur raid were  Huan Hu Yu, Ji Zhi Shang, Li Zhi Cheng, Feng Nan, Wang Jin Gwei, Liu Yu Xi, Jia de Chen, Zhu Yu Bao, Wang You Wei, Zhang Xian Jun, Yuan De, Xu Zhi, Zhu Young Rui and Xu Xian Ming.

They  were turned over to the custody of the Bureau of Immigration for processing shortly after the raid at the processing facility in Barangay Napaod, Labo, Camarines Norte, the report said.

Authorities swooped down on the black sand mining site around 6 p.m.  on Thursday amid reports that illegal open-pit mining continues to exist in Labo, Camarines Norte despite a government ban.

Reports said that the National Bureau of Investigation is now looking into the involvement of some local government officials in the illegal mining operations in Luzon where residents have aired concern about flood, landslides and reduced fish catch as a result of the illegal mining.

Officials said that they have discovered that while the mining operations in the regions are covered by permits, the authorization is for ‘small-scale mining’ only.

The raid at the processing facility owned by the Bohai Top International Mining Corporation resulted in the seizure of an estimated 500 metric tons of processed concentrates such as black sand, iron copper, silver and gold, seven backhoes; several bulldozers and three sports utility vehicles composed of a Toyota Fortuner (BHT 66); a Mitsubishi Montero Sport (UIL-618) and another SUV with plate no. CIDG-CIS.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau has taken custody of the confiscated minerals and equipment pending the filing of criminal charges against the arrested suspects who are now at the Bureau of Immigration headquarters in Manila.

The NBI and the MGB said that some top local government officials have issued temporary permits to a certain Noni Besa of Bohai Top authorizing the company to mine in the area.

To date, the unauthorized miners have dug up an area about eight hectares in width and 300-feet in depth.

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