Expert says abandoned mining sites dangerous to people, environment

AN expert has warned that the environment and the people living near the 31 abandoned mining sites in the country are facing great dangers due to soil erosion and flooding in these areas.

Appearing before the House Committee on Natural Resources, Marcial Mateo of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said that of the 31 abandoned, inactive and closed mines throughout the country, only that in Bagacay, Western Samar is being rehabilitated through a loan from the World Bank.

Mateo said mine rehabilitation is not an assurance that the problem of erosion or flooding will be addressed.

Rep. Francisco T. Matugas, (1st District, Surigao Del Norte), chairman of the House body, asked Mateo to submit a report on the status of funds intended for mine rehabilitation.

Earlier, Reps. Sharon Garin (Party-List, AAMBIS-OWA) and Raymond Palatino (Party-List, Kabataan) have filed House Resolutions 1530 and 1905 urging the House body to conduct an inquiry into the matter.

Palatino also asked the MGB to submit to the committee a list of abandoned, inactive and closed mines throughout the country.

Palatino urged the MGB to assess status of the abandoned or non-operating mines in the country and their impact on the environment and on the health and safety of surrounding populations.

Palatino cited the study made in 2001 by the US-based environmental consultancy firm Tetra Tech EM Inc., identifying the 21 abandoned mining sites which they said pose environmental and health risks.

Tetra Tech EM Inc. identified the abandoned mining sites as Acoje Mining Company, Inc. (AMCI), Sta. Cruz, Zambales ; Barlo Mining Corporation (BMC), Mabini, Pangasinan; Batong Buhay Gold Mines Inc., Pasil, Kalinga; Benguet Corp. – Antamok Mines (BC-BAGO), Itogon, Benguet; Benguet Consolidated Mining Corp. (BCMC), Itogon, Benguet; Benguet Corporation – Dizon Copper/Gold Mines (BCD), San Marcelino, Zambales; Masinloc Chromite Mines – Benguet Corporation (MCM-BC), Masinloc, Zambales; Benguet Exploration Mine (BEM),Tuba, Benguet; Black Mountain Inc. (BMI),Tuba, Benguet; Filminera Resources Corporation (FRC) formerly Banahaw Mining and Development Corp., Rosario and Bunawan, Agusan del Sur; CDCP-Basay Mine (CDCP-Basay), Basay, Negros; Ino and Capayang Mines (ICM), Mogpog, Marinduque;

Heritage Mining Corp. Alamag Processing Group, Llorente, Eastern Samar; Hixbar Gold Mining (HIXBAR), Rapu-Rapu Island, Albay; Romblon Marble Mining (RMM),Romblon; Palawan Quicksilver Mines (PQM), Palawan; Philippine Iron Mines (PIM), Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte; Philippine Pyrite Corporation (PPC).Bagacay, Samar; Silica Sand Mine (SSM), Palawan; Surigao Consolidated Mining Co., Inc. (SURICON), Siana and Mapawa, Surigao del Norte; United Paragon Mining Corporation (UPMC), Paracale, Camarines Norte and Vulcan Mining Corporation (VMC), Cordon, Isabela.

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