Illegally-mined pyrite, called “fool’s gold,” worth P84 million were seized and six persons caught transporting the mineral were arrested in Samar, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said.
In a statement, the NBI said those arrested last May 2 were Marcelo O. Villa Jr, Jason Roy Tenedero, Mia M. Laudes, Roger M. Nueva, Cleo Dorado, and a certain “Albert.”.
They were caught by operatives of the NBI’s Samar District Office (NBI-SAMDO) last in the act of transporting ore pyrite in three cargo wing-van trucks out of a stockyard in Barangay Pequit in Paranas, Samar.
The NBI said: “For their failure to present the necessary Ore Transport Permit (OTP) from the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) when asked by NBI- SAMDO, operatives of the NBI in the presence of Barangay Kagawads with PENRO (Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office), CENRO (City Environment and Natural Resources Office) and PNP (Philippine National Police) Paranas Municipal Police Station, seized the Ore Pyrite with an approximate volume of 56,000 kilograms with an estimated value of P84,000,000 and arrested the Subjects.”
“On May 4, 2022, the six arrested individuals were presented for inquest proceedings before the Office of Prosecutor of Samar for violation of Section 103 (theft of high-grade minerals) of Republic Act No. 7942 (Mining Act of 1995),” it also said.
Google says: “Pyrite is called ‘fool’s gold’ because it resembles gold to the untrained eye. While pyrite has a brass-yellow color and metallic luster similar to gold, pyrite is brittle and will break rather than bend as gold does. Gold leaves a yellow streak, while pyrite’s streak is brownish black.”
The NBI said that prior to the operation, it received “an intelligence report regarding unlawful extraction of high-grade mineral, Ore Pyrite, from an old and closed mining site in Hinabangan, Samar and transported to an unknown destination without the required permit from the DENR.”
“Series of surveillance operation conducted by NBI-SAMDO confirmed the authenticity of the said intelligence report,” it noted.