MINING FIRMS SEEK TO EXPORT BLACK SAND THRU SUBIC PORT
By Pia Press Release
March 14, 2011
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, March 14 (PIA) — Two mining companies operating in Zambales have expressed keen interest in using the seaport facilities of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to export iron ore to China and other client countries in the Southeast Asian region.
In a meeting with SBMA chairman Feliciano Salonga, CAZMIN Mineral Resources Corp. president and CEO Luis Ramos and CAZMIN director for marketing Ilias Sourdis, formally expressed their intention to export “black sand” products through the Port of Subic.
Ramos said that CAZMIN and partner Alexandra Mining and Oil Ventures, Inc. intend to utilize a 15,678-square meter open space at the Sattler Pier inside the Naval Supply Depot Compound of this free port for storage and shipping purposes.
CAZMIN and Alexandra process iron ore sand, having existing mining operations in barangay Mabanglit in Cabangan town, San Rafael in San Marcelino, and Sampat in San Felipe, all in Zambales.
“Actually, we contribute something to the environment because we practically dredge the lahar-clogged rivers of San Marcelino and San Felipe,” Ramos said, adding that their black sand product is “absolutely pollution-free, has no chemical and no hazardous smell.”
Ramos said that in order to avoid contributing to traffic problems, especially in Olongapo City, the trucks they will use in hauling the ore will ply the route from the milling sites in Zambales to the Subic Bay Freeport only in the evening.
The miners told Salonga that Zambales was known before as the chromite capital of the Philippines, but with big developments in China today, magnetite iron ore has become more important than chromite.
“China is buying the iron ore from as far as Iran, India, and Brazil. So, if we could produce enough supply of the mineral from the Philippines, China is willing to import them all for the economic reason and proximity,” Sourdis said. Iron ore is the raw material used to make pig iron, which is one of the main ingredients in steel-making.
He said that on a yearly basis, their joint venture plans to export 4.8 million tons of magnetite iron ore or black sand to a big mill in Nanjin; 1.2 million tons to a processing plant in Taizhou; and 700,000 tons to another Taizhou plant, all in China.
The shipment of minerals is set to start this month with an initial 30,000 tons and is expected to increase to 70,000 tons per month starting in April or May.
Sourdis said that the minimum value of black sand per metric ton is $100 to $110, depending on the quality of the mineral. “So, if you sell one million metric tons a year, that is $1 million a year,” he added.
Although the proposal has to be approved by the SBMA board of directors, chairman Salonga noted that the proposed transaction would assure the agency of earning about $29,000 a month, plus other port charges.
Salonga also noted that the bigger the volume of black sand to be collected, the better for Zambales because that would mean more income for residents and the government could save millions of pesos in dredging the rivers.
“This is good for the province of Zambales, the maritime and seaport industries. This is the biggest industry in Zambales today and will place us on the map of mining and the maritime world. That is why it is important to us,” Salonga stressed.(wlb/AMV/PIA Zambales/SBMA-PRD)