Government Greenlights Offshore Mining in Cagayan
The government has given the go-signal for the first large-scale offshore mining to operate in Cagayan in January next year.
According to a statement, JDVC Resources Corporation, a majority-owned subsidiary of Apollo Global Capital, is now ready for operations, having secured permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
It's Mineral Production Sharing Agreement said that the mine is allowed within an area of 1,903 hectares in the seabed off Cagayan. The firm also had an agreement with billionaire Frank Lao of the Choi Garden restaurant group, who will provide two deep-sea mining vessels for the operation. When these vessels arrive in January, the operations will start.
Ore reserves are expected to reach around 632 million tons of magnetite – a kind of iron-oxide mineral used to make steel.
According to the website of JDVC, the extraction process would come as a “no hazard at all and no social complication,” emphasizing that no explosives are going to be used.
The community in the area, however, doesn’t sit well with the operations. In a previous report, they questioned how the government allowed the firm without public consultation. Environmental groups even said that offshore mining may damage the ecosystem. University of Hawaii oceanographer Craig Smith said in a recent study, “Many deep-sea ecosystems will be very sensitive to seafloor mining, are likely to be impacted over much larger scales than predicted by mining interests, and local and regional biodiversity losses are likely with the potential for species extinction.”