Illegal China-bound 50,000 tons iron ore seized - Philippine Authority

[image from: Wikipedia]

Philippine authorities 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 tons of iron ore, believed to be worth more than $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.

"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 $50 per metric tonne, or $2.5 million, he added.

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines last year warned of Chinese companies using Filipino fronts to take advantage of a law reserving small-scale mining for locals.

The seizure last week came four months after the government deported eight Chinese nationals caught working illegally for a mining firm. More than 100 other Chinese have been detained for similar offences over the past two years.

In 2010, a diplomatic row broke out between Manila and Beijing after police detained but eventually freed 80 Chinese found working illegally at a mine site on the main island of Luzon.

The Philippines is believed to have some of the biggest mineral reserves in the world. The government estimates the country has at least $840 billion in gold, copper, nickel, chromite, manganese, silver and iron.

But the mining industry remains relatively small because of laws that discourage investment and a very strong anti-mining lobby led partly by many activists.

Hitching production in China

About 98% of iron ore is used to make steel - one of the greatest inventions and most useful materials ever created.

This very important element is also used for the metallurgy products, magnets, high-frequency cores, auto parts, paints, printing inks, plastics, cosmetics (eye shadow), artist colors, laundry blue, paper dyeing, fertilizer ingredient, baked enamel finishes for autos and appliances, industrial finishes. Black iron oxide: as pigment, in polishing compounds, metallurgy, medicine, magnetic inks, in ferrites for electronics industry.

In 2010, China led the for the highest iron ore production with an estimated of 900 million metric tons resulting to the fast getting scarce of the local resources and currently needs to import the materials from around the world to meet its demand.

With the rising demand of war weaponry, electronic products and high end technology equipment, iron ore demand will also keep rising. 

The getting scarce of natural resources of china will push their government to continue expanding going south or particularly the Philippines which is remained as the world's largest unexploited mineral reserves.

Scarcity of iron ore as a raw material of the production would hinder to produce a product because it is a no substitute element.  Recycling could be suitable but with the high demand, it could not meet the demand for mass production and it would hamper the output. In absence of this element, china could not produce valuable products needed to sustain and to save their downward trend economy. 

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