Philippines detains 18 Chinese for illegal mining
MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines has detained 18 Chinese men on suspicion of illegal black sand mining in the northern coastal town of Aparri, the justice department said on Tuesday.
Authorities say there has been a rise in the illegal extraction of magnetite - also known as black sand - which is an iron ore in huge demand by China's steel mills.
Justice department investigators raided two mine sites run by Chinese firm Hua Xia Mining and Trading Corp. last Thursday and detained 18 of its employees, department spokesman Alex Lactao told AFP.
The company had a permit to dredge magnetite from a nearby river but not from the coast, he said. It is illegal to extract any minerals within 200 metres of a beach under Philippine law.