MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Watchdog Group Urges Rejection Of Mining Firm's Permit

Published by MAC on 2007-08-20
Source: Inquirer

Watchdog group urges rejection of mining firm's permit

By Gerald Gene R. Querubin, Inquirer -

20th August 2007

BOAC, Marinduque -- A local environment watchdog is calling on the country's environmental officials to reject an exploration permit and Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) applied for by a mining firm seeking to operate in Marinduque.

The exploration permit sought by Consolidated Mines Inc. (CMI) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources covers almost 2,458 hectares in the villages of Bocboc, Butansapa, Magapua, Anapog-Sibucao, Capayang and Ino in the municipality of Mogpog.

According to Miguel Magalang, executive secretary of the Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns, they are against the issuance of the exploration permit and an MPSA to avoid a repeat of the 1996 Boac River Mining Disaster, when up to 20 million cubic meters of floodwaters, mine wastes and silt spilled into the Boac River from the open pit of the Marcopper mining company.

"We have been firm with our stand to deny any forms of mining activities in the province because we believe that despite claims of new technologies in mining, there is no assurance that the 1996 disaster will not happen again," Magalang said.

"As responsible stewards of environment and protectors of our citizens, we will continuously block any move to tamper our fragile ecosystem. The people of Marinduque are in solidarity in our campaign for a mining-free province," he added.

Magalang also claimed the CMI has not been a good corporate citizen of the province and still owed the local government and its former workers. The firm used to operate a copper mine in the town of Mogpog during the 1960s and 1970s.

A statement from the group said that, after 30 years of hosting large-scale mining projects, Marinduque remains one of the only seven fourth-class provinces in the country, ranked the 14th poorest province of the Philippines and the third in most denuded forests, with a high poverty incidence rate of 71.9 percent.

"The Marinduque experience should be a reminder to the national government and a wakeup call to other provinces, lest they fall into the trap of 'economic miracles' promised by mining projects, especially with the major thrust of the current administration to revitalize mining in the country," Magalang said.

He reiterated that they were in unity with other anti-mining groups in rejecting the transfer of the Philippine Mining Development Corp. from the DENR to the Office of the President.

"It is clear that there is a shortcut on social acceptability on mining operations with this setup," Magalang added.

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