House to probe illegal mining operation in Zambo Sur

THE House of Representatives is set to conduct an investigation on the alleged nefarious activities of illegal mining groups and pseudo-mining companies operating in Bayog, Balabag, Zamboanga del Sur.

Rep. Danilo Ramon Fernandez (1st District, Laguna) filed House Resolution 2908 urging the House Committee on Ecology to investigate the illegal gold mining activities in Zamboanga del Sur that have wrought massive destruction and devastation in the province.

Fernandez chided the local government officials, the police and the military for their failure to stop the illegal mining operations in the province.

“They should have stopped the operation of a big mining company in the province after the Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Mining Regulatory Board rejected its permit to operate in the area,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez identified the Monte Oro Small Scale Mining (MOSSNA) as the mining company operating in the gold-rich Balabag area in Zamboanga del Sur.

“The illegal gold mining operation in the province is being carried out by well funded, entrenched, armed and influential illegal mining operators in Zamboanga Del Sur and other gold rich areas in the country,” Fernandez said.

Citing newspaper reports, Fernandez said illegal logging has destroyed forest areas for wood supplies used as mine shaft support and beams for the illegal mining operations of illegal gold mining groups and miners.

“Aside from the destruction of forest, there is a blatant, uncontrolled and extremely dangerous illegal use of banned and toxic chemicals and substances when processing gold, such as cyanide and mercury. Illegal mining operators also use dynamite blasting to carry out their unlawful operations,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez said the people behind the illegal mining activities in the province should be exposed, charged and prosecuted.

MOSSNA has filed a petition to operate in the area protected by the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement between the government and the TVI Resources and Development Corporation.

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