3 active mining ops in E. Visayas to continue-A A +A
Sunday, August 12, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY –- At least three active mining operations with combined area of 4,550 hectares will continue in Eastern Visayas despite effectivity of Executive Order No. 79 of President Benigno Aquino III, expanding no-mining zones in the country.
“The perfected mining rights will be respected except for new applications including small scales and gravel until its expiration,” said Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) regional director Roger De Dios.
De Dios said that those with existing mining rights are Nicua Mining Corporation and Leyte Ironsand Corporation in Macarthur and Javier, Leyte; Cambayas Mining Corporation in Homonhon Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar; and Mt. Sinai Mining Exploration and Development Corp., also in Homonhon.
Starting 2011, Nicua and Leyte Ironsand were allowed to explore and dig for magnetite sand within the 524 hectares coverage of 25-year Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) within the two Leyte towns.
Cambayas was given permit in 2009 to extract minerals within the 3,516 hectares in Homonhon Island. Mt. Sinai, on the other hand, was given go signal last year to drill 510 hectares area also in Homonhon. Cambayas and Mt. Sinai’s interest are the rich deposits of chromite in the island.
Mt. Sinai and Cambayas’ MPSA is effective until 2036 and 2034, respectively.
“Those with existing mining rights will not be affected by new directive but we will continue to monitor activities to ensure compliance to environmental laws,” De Dios said.
The MGB regional office is still waiting for the Implementing Rules and Regulations on the expanded mining ban particularly on policies dealing with review of existing agreements.
Aquino’s order calls for review of the performance of existing mining operations and cleansing of non-moving mining rights holders.
This is to ensure compliance with environmental standards, laws, rules and regulations, and to rationalize the management and utilization of minerals toward sustainable development.
Other than protected areas cited in the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the National Integrated Protected Area System, mining ban now include tourism development areas identified by the National Tourism Development Plan, prime agricultural lands such as plantations and other properties devoted to valuable crops, fisheries development zones and marine sanctuaries as declared by the agriculture secretary, and island ecosystems to be determined by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Multi-stakeholder team will be tasked to review the performance of existing mining operations as the government emphasized its commitment to fully enforce environmental standards.
The Environment department, tasked to lead the team, is expected recommend actions against firms that violate state regulations on mining and the environment. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)