MANILA, Philippines - Fourteen Chinese nationals were arrested in a raid on an alleged illegal black sand mining site in Camarines Norte on Thursday, which also resulted in the seizure of at least P12 million worth of minerals, heavy equipment and motor vehicles, officials reported yesterday.
The 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, according to a report sent to the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) chaired by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.
Arrested 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 Bureau of Immigration (BI).
The raid in the village of Napaod in Labo town, Camarines Norte was carried out by members of the Philippine National Police, the Naval Intelligence and Security Group, the BI, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the PAOCC.
Seized from the facility reportedly owned by the Bohai Top International Mining Corp. were 500 metric tons of processed concentrates such as black sand, iron copper, silver and gold; seven backhoes; several bulldozers and three sport utility vehicles.
The NBI is looking into reports that some local government officials are involved in the illegal black sand mining operations in Luzon, which residents blamed for the incidents of flooding, and landslides.
The MGB has taken custody of the confiscated items and equipment pending the filing of criminal charges against the suspects who were taken to the BI headquarters in Manila.
The NBI and the MGB said some local government officials issued temporary permits to a certain Noni Besa of Bohai Top authorizing the company to conduct mining operations in the area.
Authorities discovered that although mining operations in the region are covered with permits, these only allow small-scale mining operations.