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Cebu-based firm keen on mining magnetite in Leyte

Cebu-based firm keen on mining magnetite in Leyte

TACLOBAN CITY, July 15 (PNA) — While Nicua Mining Corporation put their mining operation in Macarthur, Leyte on hold, Cebu-based Strong Built (Mining) Development Corporation (SBDC) is bracing for full swing magnetite sand mining operation in the town’s farmlands.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) reported that the company has been extracting minerals for testing in preparation for commercial production since last year.

Nonita S. Caguioa, chief of the MGB regional mining environment and safety division said that SBDC was given the authority to extract minerals in 7,411 hectares of lands in Dulag, Mayorga, Macarthur, and Abuyog in Leyte.

The metallurgical testing, according to her, is now concentrated in Barangay San Pedro in Macarthur town, an adjacent villages of Villa Imelda, the site of Nicua Mining Corporation.

“The location is far from Lake Bito and we will make sure that the mining company will abide environmental laws,” Ms. Caguioa said.

SBDC has been operating since 1999 with iron ore, manganese ore, and chromite as their main products. The firm has been enjoying an annual sales volume of one million US dollars according to china.cn website.

In July 28, 2007, the MGB has approved a 25-year Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) with SBDC that will expire in 2032.

Last year, Nicua ceased operation due to disagreements with partner Leyte Irons and Mining Corporation.

The mining operation has been blamed by communities as the culprit of massive fish kill as mine waste reportedly reached fishing grounds of Lake Bito.

MPSA is a deal wherein the government shares in the production of the contractor, whether in kind or in value, as owner of the minerals, and the contractor gets the rest. In return, the contractor provides the necessary financing, technology, management and personnel for the mining project.

Junior mining firm Northern Access Mining Corporation (NAMI) is also seeking to expand their exploration permit coverage to Macarthur town.

The existing MPSA allows NAMI to explore 50 mining blocks straddling the municipalities of Tanauan, Tolosa, Dulag, Julita, and Tabontabon in Leyte .

“Many areas in Leyte have large deposits of magnetite sand, which has been drawing interest of mining companies,” Caguioa said.

MGB records show that 11 mining firms have pending magnetite sand exploration permit application in Leyte with combined area of 61,209 hectares.

From 1969 to 1976, Inco Mining operated a magnetite mine and processing plant in Tolosa that managed to produce 750,000 tons of magnetite every year and was shipped to Japanese steelmakers. It ceased operation when government imposed strict mining rules.

Magnetite is a magnetic and a very dense mineral of iron. It is an important source of iron for the iron and steel industries but it also has other uses as an industrial mineral to produce many value-added products.

High-grade magnetite is used in many chemical processes including the production of iron sulfate, which is used to purify water in many major cities. Heavy concrete is used for the construction of baffles and containment tanks in nuclear power plants to things as everyday as counter weights in household washing machines. (PNA)

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