Mayor David Albert Lacson yesterday debunked speculations that there is a pending application for offshore magnetite sand mining at the coastal areas of EB Magalona, Negros Occidental.
Lacson said nobody has applied for magnetite sand mining in EB Magalona yet, and no ECC (Environment Compliance Certificate) has been approved for it.
Offshore magnetite sand mining involves the suctioning of millions of tons of sand from the sea bottom, to screen for magnetite ore.
Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra and environmentalist groups have opposed the magnetite sand mining that reportedly covers 28,600 hectares of coastal areas from Pontevedra to Manapla, Negros Occidental.
In 2011, the mayors of Negros Occidental and Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. asked President Benigno Aquino III to stop offshore mining for magnetite sand in the province’s coastal areas.
They also urged Aquino to order the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau to stop accepting and processing applications for exploration and offshore magnetite sand mining in Negros Occidental and to revoke permits already granted.
They pointed out that dredging of millions of metric tons of sand would only put to waste their initiatives in coastal fisheries resources management and the province’s vision of setting up a network of marine protected areas for sustainable benefits, especially for the poor fisherfolk.
While exploration activities may not require consent from local government units, they said the DENR must respect the policy of the province and must not mislead potential investors into thinking that magnetite sand mining will be allowed eventually. * GPB