UNFORESEEN disasters arising from numerous mining operations in Benguet have pushed the Provincial Board, through a resolution, to require mining operations to secure status report of their tailings storage facility.
Anchored toward ensuring the safety of the people of Benguet, all mining companies operating within the province are required to furnish copy of status report of their tailings storage facility.
"Most are unforeseen and it will just come anytime," said Board Member Apolinario Camsol, chair of committee on mining and energy.
Signed and carried by the Provincial Board, the resolution states it will ensure the stipulations required for the corporations to protect the environment and to restore mined-out areas and other areas affected by mine waste or mill tailings and other forms of pollution or destruction is in compliance with the requirements of the existing laws.
Following the passage of the provincial law, the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company recently furnished to the Provincial Board the company's compliance monitoring validation report, including the latest status of their operational tailings storage facility.
Benguet Corporation, Philex Mining Corporation, and Lepanto are the three biggest mining firms operating in the province.
Mine wastes (tailings) are being kept in the facilities such as leackage and are said to be hazardous materials affecting communities surrounding the mine sites, most especially during rainy season.
"Mining operations are forced to have tailings storage facility or else hindi ma-lift iyong suspensions. Under the law, it is a pre-requisite to have until such time they comply," added Camsol.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through its geo-hazard mapping in 2016, reported that Benguet was considered to be 90 percent prone to landslides.
The MGB added that Benguet topped the 10 landslide-prone provinces in the country, while all the provinces in the Cordillera region were in the top 10.
Office of Civil Defense-Cordillera Director Andrew Alex Uy, meanwhile, said there should be a strong standard engagement of local government units of their citizenries.
"Kapag ka naforecast na iyong bagyo, we are suggesting local government units i-suspend lahat ng small-scale mining operations dahil delikado, but then ang hinahanap kasi natin dito iyong commitment ng bawat local citizenries," added Uy.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on December 05, 2017.
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