Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Police detain 80 Chinese miners in Zambales

MASINLOC - Philippine police said Tuesday they had detained 80 Chinese nationals illegally working at a mine site north of Manila.

The workers have been held since Thursday when mining authorities, police and soldiers raided the chromite mining site at Masinloc, 150 kilometers (90 miles) northwest of the capital, police said.

The site was operated by Filipino firm Compania Minera Tubajon, police said. But they alleged that the company did not have concessional rights to the area and used armed private security guards to shield the premises from inspectors.

"They (the Chinese workers) are being secured in the mine camp. We already asked the Bureau of Immigration to... take appropriate action," provincial police chief Rafael Santiago told reporters.

He said he could not give details of charges to be filed against the Chinese, but said they would be held in the camp pending further investigation.

The Chinese workers had refused to answer any questions, a local police spokeswoman told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Compania Minera was reportedly working in the area under contract from another firm, the police spokeswoman said.

A police report of the incident obtained by AFP said that Compania Minera is believed to be owned by a former governor and that the firm was said to be exporting mineral ores to China illegally.

Compania Minera's chief operating officer, Arsenia Lim, refused to comment on the incident when contacted by AFP, while spokespeople at China's embassy in Manila were not available for comment Tuesday.

Chromite is the ore for chromium, which is mixed with steel to make it harder and resistant to corrosion. Agence France Presse

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