MASINLOC -- Eighty Chinese nationals allegedly working in a mining firm in Masinloc, Zambales, were held by the local police on Friday.

Zambales Provincial Director Rafael Santiago confirmed that the Chinese nationals were in the vicinity of Coto Mining Inc. (CMI) located in Barangay Taltal, Sitio Coto, Masinloc, Zambales.

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Santiago said that 70 of the 80 Chinese miners were unable to present any working permits.

He added that they have been receiving reports that an "abnormal number" of Chinese nationals were working in the area.

Santiago said that they discovered the Chinese nationals during their inspection of the area were they received reports that illegal mining of chromites was being conducted.

"We will let them stay in the fenced area of the mining site until we talk to the Bureau of Immigrations. Until then they will stay there," he said.

"It is up to immigration what to do with them," Santiago added.

Police had to restrict them knowing that they allegedly violated the law in the Philippines, Santiago further explained.

Local miners in the area said that some of the Chinese nationals working in the area had been working since last year.

The discovery stemmed from the order of Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. to crack down on illegal mining in the province.

The mining site according to Santiago was allegedly being operated by Companhia Minera Tubajon Inc. (CMTI) owned by a certain Arsenia Lim.

CMTI, according to Santiago, was allegedly mining and exporting chromites to China without any Ore Transport Permit (OTP) and Mineral Ore Export Permit (MOEP).