MAC/20: Mines and Communities

DENR gives go-signal to Lafayette mining

Published by MAC on 2006-08-30

DENR gives go-signal to Lafayette mining

Mark Ivan Roblas, ABS Interactive -

30th August 2006

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Tuesday allowed Lafayette Philippines Inc. to proceed to the third stage of the test run in its polymetallic project on Rapu-rapu Island, Albay, preparatory to a resumption of full operations.

This development came inspite of the reported contamination of the waters at Mirikpitik Creek where the presence of cadmium, copper and zinc was detected.

In a four-page order, Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes said the department is allowing Lafayette to proceed with the third stage of the test run at full capacity "but on a gradual process."

Reyes said he is allowing Lafayette to operate at 30-percent capacity on the first day, 60 percent on the second, 80 percent on the third until it operates at full capacity.

He said the third stage of the test run, which would last 15 days, would commence upon Lafayette's receipt of the order.

"The regional office shall continue to validate [Lafayette's] compliance and to monitor its operations 24 hours a day within the fifteen-day period," Reyes said.

Lafayette was allowed to conduct the third and final stage in its mining operations following the findings of the DENR's regional office that the mining firm's pollution-control program is sound.

The DENR regional office found out that Lafayette's lower tailing facility has the capacity to contain all the generated mill effluents even if the plant's rated capacity is increased.

It said the ideal treatment dosage used to reduce cyanide from mill tailings conforms with the effluent standards of the department.

The regional office attested that Lafayette has an adequate emergency-response system to address spills that may occur during operations.

Earlier, residents in Rapu-rapu Island and nearby towns in Albay protested the resumption of the mining operations of Lafayette, saying that the firm has been remiss in providing safety measures in their plant.

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