MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Subanon Accuse TVI of "Lying Again"

Published by MAC on 2007-05-07

Subanon Accuse TVI of "Lying Again"

Press Release - Tito Natividad Fiel, DCMI (DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues)

7th May 2007

The Subanon of Mount Canatuan in Tabayo, Siocon Zamboanga del Norte, under Timuay Jose 'Boy' Anoy, refute the explanation of the Canadian mining company TVI Pacific when it denied the reported collapse of its tailings dam on April 2 2007.

***** Photograph showing TVI's Gossan Dam showing the breach on April 2nd

Anoy's son, Nano, told DCMI (DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues) on April 26 that he personally witnessed the collapse of TVI's sulphide dam and even provided pictures that he took to validate his findings.

He claimed that TVI's engineering department panicked, and as they could not get their act together they took remedial actions to prevent the information from coming out into the public domain.

"Several pieces of equipment, like welding machines, were dragged away by the force of the water and are now reportedly missing ", Nano Anoy added.

He took issue with the article issued posted by TVI on the internet and in the newspaper which quoted TVI public affairs director Rocky Dimaculangan and Vice President for environment and civil works Jay Nelson, who both said the company's sulphide dam "is still very much standing".

Dimaculangan even challenged those who had circulated the news of the tailings dam collapse to confirm what they said was true. "Those who are peddling the wrong information you may visit the Canatuan Gold and Silver Open Pit mine site in Siocon and see for yourself the actual situation", he said.

Nelson added the "very red" water flowing through the Lituban River after a heavy downpour was not a mine-tailing leak but was from eroded soils and red soil run off.

But Charles Alferez, Executive Director of DCMI whose office released the information to the public about the collapse of the TVI sulphide dam, said that they were relaying the description of the affected communities on Mount Canatuan that the "TVI constructed sulphide dam collapsed".

However, Nano Anoy said that the truth was that different siltation dams surround TVI's open pit mining operation, within the Ancestral Domain of "Timuay" or Chieftain Jose "Boy" Anoy. The company's engineering department refers to them as sedimentation dams. The company built these dams.

Anoy described the layout of the dams noting that from TVI's plant the wastes go to its skyline gossans dam. The water from the gossans dam then flows to the two layers of water treatment dams. Siltation dam 1 lies below or nearby the two layers of water treatment. Next to it is the siltation dam 2, followed by siltation dams 3, 4, 5 and 6. Above siltation dam 6, there is a so-called waste dumpsite. From there, the water and siltation flow into the siltation dam 6. Any release from these dams would eventually flow into the Canatuan creek. The Canatuan creek's destination is the Lituban River.

TVI is constructing its sulphide dam within the Canatuan Creek. To dry up the constructed sulphide dam, TVI has constructed two control dams. The company used water pumps in the control dams to siphon the waters and diverted from the dam construction.

On April 2 this year, in the course of heavy rainfall, the six siltation dams of TVI on Mount Canatuan including the two layers of water treatment dams collapsed, Anoy said.

Due to fear of collapse, the contaminated water of the skyline gossans dam which was shamelessly reported by the company to be standing and intact, was released independently towards the Canatuan creek by TVI without passing through the two layers of water treatment dams.

The water and soils from the siltation dams, the dump site and from the gossans dam subsequently flowed into the Canatuan creek, adding immense pressure to the two layers of control dams causing them to collapse. Consequently the under construction sulphide dam below also collapsed because the water pumps used were already inadequate to siphon the water from the two control dams.

TVI Pacific has clearly been misinforming the public by saying that the discoloration of water in the river was just due to the runoff of soils from their construction of the sulphide dam. The truth is that some water released from the gossans dam went into the Canatuan creek, including water and soil from the collapsed siltation dams.

Since 1997, the Subanon people through the leadership of Timuay Jose "Boy" Anoy, the father of Nano Anoy, have accused TVI of peddling misinformation to the public by denying the allegations of human rights violations, despite the bulk of evidences presented.

But the Subanon People in Canatuan, through Timuay Jose Anoy who is the legal and legitimate holder of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim (CADT), is hoping that justice will prevail for them in their continuous struggle against the forced entry of TVI to their Ancestral Domain. This now includes the company dealing honestly with this serious environmental incident.

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