Missing backhoe used in illegal mining found

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Saturday, June 28, 2014


THE city’s environment department, in one of its most recent operations, found one of the missing backhoes on Thursday that was used in illegal mining operations in the upland villages.

Led by the City Local Environment and Natural Resources (Clenro), the operation included the confiscation of the backhoe, 10 hydraulic water pumps and accessories were also confiscated in barangay Tumpagon.

“When I assumed office last year, there were two major backhoes we [were looking] for. We finally found the other one,” Clenro head Edwin Dael said.

Clenro said there were 20 backhoes recorded last year that were used in mining. Of those, 14 were withdrawn by Caterpillar Inc. fearing that the equipment bearing their brand will be subjected for confiscation.

“It was unexpected that we finally found the backhoe we have been looking for. This backhoe is used in scraping lands and can actually [trim] mountains,” Dael said.

In mining operations, backhoes are used to scrape for gold.

However, only four grams of gold can be gleaned from one ton of soil. Once done, miners will throw the ‘leftover’ soil to the river causing the city’s Iponan River to turn brown, he added.

“We have been really doing operations regularly so that we can completely stop the mining in the city and the Iponan River will have clear water again,” he said.

Mining operations have been major problems of Clenro since Dael’s leadership. Foreign mining companies have stopped and the local ones have resumed operations.

Dael said there is only one financer of the mining operations in the city.

“There is only who is behind all of these. Taga diri ra ni siya (The financer is just from around here),” he said.

“However, we cannot pinpoint pa gyud. We really have to catch them in the act,” Dael added.

Together with Clenro in the conduct of the anti-mining operations are the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) who have never failed to take part in going after miners.

With the incessant operation conducted by Clenro, Dael said there had been attempts to bribe and threaten him and his team.

“First, these operators bribe. And if you still continue, they threat you then they threat your family. I am used to it but they have to understand this is my job too,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 29, 2014.

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