A gold panner on a raft works on the sea-river in Paracale just a stone's throw away from Palanas (foreground), the biggest mining district in the municipality. - MWBuzzpic by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
MANILA: Philippine authorities said last week they had seized a huge amount of iron ore intended to be smuggled to China, as part of a long-running battle against illegal miners.
The 50,000 tonnes of iron ore, believed to be worth more than US$2 million, were found stockpiled near a private wharf at a coastal mining town in the eastern province of Camarines Norte, mines bureau head Leo Jasareno said.
"A cargo ship was seen anchored at a distance, and it was believed to be waiting for the ore to be loaded when the raid happened," Jasareno told AFP.
"The shipment was supposed to go to China and they were clearly intending to smuggle it out."
Jasareno said the ore was extracted illegally because the mining companies involved did not have a mineral export permit, adding one was suspected to be a front for a Chinese firm.
Initial estimates by the bureau's experts placed the shipment's value at US$50 per metric tonne, or US$2.5 million, he added. See related story below. - AFP