MAC/20: Mines and Communities

All Biak-na-Bato quarrying stopped

Published by MAC on 2006-07-15

All Biak-na-Bato quarrying stopped

By Christine A. Gaylican, Inquirer

13th July 2006 Published on Page A14 of the July 13, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources has suspended all quarrying and other mining-related operations in the Biak-na-Bato National Park in San Miguel, Bulacan.

Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes yesterday announced in a press conference that the agency is suspending the operations of Rosemoor Mining and Development Corp., which holds a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) in the premises of the Biak-na-Bato Mineral Reservation.

"The DENR has decided to suspend the mining/quarrying operations of Rosemoor until such time that the environment, social, safety and health measures are put in place, operating agreements are registered and approved and all proper taxes, fees and royalties are fully paid," said Reyes.

He said that the agency is also canceling all quarrying permits issued by the provincial and municipal governments covering areas in the national park, the mineral reservation, forest reservation and watershed area.

He said Rosemoor has violated the several conditions of its MPSA specifically on partially paying excise taxes.

The company, he said, still has to pay P167,308 to the government from Nov. 17, 2005 to Jan. 23, 2006.

"Moreover, the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP)'s requirements have not been fully complied with," he added.

Rosemoor had said it did not violate any conditions in its mining permits and has been paying taxes regularly.

Reyes said the DENR is currently investigating the alleged double-marking of marble blocks.

The said mineral reservation has a unique and internationally known marble deposit known as tea rose.

Rosemoor's MPSA, issued by the DENR in December 2002, covers 330.3 hectares within the eastern portion of the national park.

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