Miners hit DENR for loss of jobs

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014


STA. CRUZ, Zambales -- Some 2,500 mine workers from different large-scale mining companies in Zambales lambasted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) after it suspended the operation of four major mining companies forcing them to lose their jobs.

The province of Zambales is known to be rich in nickel and chromites, which attracted large-scale mining companies to setup shop.

The fate of more than 2,500 workers, mostly from the town of Sta. Cruz now hangs in the balance after the DENR suspended four major players in the mining industry in the province.

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Regional Director Danilo Uykieng, officer in charge of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, ordered the suspension of the four mining companies -- Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., and Lnl Archipelago Minerals Inc. -- after they failed to pass a regulatory evaluation of their operations.

The group of workers from the four companies called Coalition of Mine Workers, Families and Communities (CMWFC) is pressing the DENR to lift its suspension so they can go back to work and earn and honest living.

Orlan Mayor, spokesperson of the CMWFC, said that mining is the main livelihood of residents in the area.

"Malaking tulong ang trabaho namin sa minahan. Wala naman ibang trabaho dito sa probinsiya maliban dyan. Pwede naman magsaka pero
seasonal lang naman yun," Mayor said.

He added: "Paano na yung pamilya nung libong mangagawa ng minahan kung patuloy kaming walang trabaho?"

The group last Saturday held a caravan to protest the decision of the DENR and held a mass afterwards in Sta. Cruz, Zambales.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 13, 2014.

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