Pangasinan execs protest massive black sand mining in Lingayen Gulf Facebook

DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan, Philippines — A massive offshore black sand mining project that will run for 25 years in Lingayen Gulf has stirred protests from local communities in Pangasinan province, describing it as an “environmental monster.”
“God help Pangasinan!” exclaimed provincial board member Von Mark Mendoza after an official of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) informed provincial officials on Sept. 13 that the project’s proponent would extract 25 million metric tons of black sand yearly.

“That much amount of sand to be taken from the environmentally critical gulf would mean devastation to the province, especially the second district which I represent,” Mendoza said during the question hour of the provincial board session last week.
Mendoza emphasized the need to consider the effects of the mining project on the marine life and environment of Lingayen Gulf, on which thousands of people depend for their livelihood.

Since the excavation will start 500 meters from the shoreline, the marginal fishermen who catch fish in the municipal waters (or up to 15 kilometers from the shoreline toward the sea) will be affected.
The offshore magnetite mining by the company identified as Iron Ore, Gold and Vanadium Resources (Phils.) Inc. will cover 10,000 hectares of the gulf off the towns of Sual, Labrador, Lingayen and Binmaley and this city

He said an annual haul of 25 million MT is equivalent to 1,633,986 dump trucks (each with a 10-cubic-meter load) of black sand. In 25 years, a total of 625 million MT or 40,849,650 truckloads of black sand would be hauled away by the company that has secured approval from Malacañang.
‘Intriguing’ approval
“Intriguing, but a permit was granted by the center of power of the national government,” provincial board member Noel Bince said in the same meeting, adding that the permit granted to Vanadium Resources was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
According to a document posted on the EMB website, Malacañang approved the project, which is covered by Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement No. 07-2020-IOMR, on Nov. 25, 2020.
The agreement allows the conduct of large-scale exploration, development and commercial utilization of minerals found within the areas where Vanadium Resources has obtained the exclusive rights to extract magnetite sand.
Bince had asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) if the proponent was part of the Australian Vanadium Limited, but he said he was told by Mines and Geosciences Bureau legal officer Mario Tinorio that the company is 100-percent Filipino-owned.

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