Tuba officials propose inspection of mining operations

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Tuba officials are asking the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to conduct an inspection to assess the effects of mining in the town.

In a resolution backed by the entire council, as well as Indigenous Peoples Groups, the town is asking the DENR through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau to investigate the effects of both small scale and large scale mining in Barangays Camp 4 and 3.

The resolution showed residents of Camps 3 and 4 fear the mining tunnels of Philex Mining Corporation, located at Padcal, Camp 3 have already reached parts of Camp 4.

"This body has been informed that several explosions in different days and time had been heard, each explosion was followed by earth tremors," Vice Mayor Clarita Sal-ongan said.

The incident has alarmed residents of Camp 3 and 4 urging local officials to ask the DENR for help.

Residents have observed the drying of several water sources in the community as well as sinking portions in both barangays.

"There is an urgent need for proper authorities to conduct an investigation and ocular inspection along these areas to determine whether or not the above mentioned are caused by mining activities being done," Sal-ongan said.

In the province there are 64 Small Scale Mining (SSM) associations with 20,000 SSM members, with 9 SSM permits released by the DENR–MGB.

Small-scale mining, although proven to be very hazardous, remains as a thriving industry in most gold-rush provinces like Benguet.

In Benguet the small-scale mining industry earned P250 billion for the last 15 years and around three tons of gold had been sold to accredited buyers from 2002 to 2007.

The resolution has been forwarded to the provincial board for further study.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 24, 2014.

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