Board calls anew for probe with groups opposing Nicua Mining-A A +A
Sunday, August 12, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – The committee on environment and natural resources of the Provincial Board of Leyte will be calling for another committee investigation, this time with personalities and groups that are opposing to the mining activities of Nicua Mining Corporation.
Nicua Mining Corporation was the permittee for the magnetite sand mining operation in McArthur, Leyte, which was pointed-out by some residents living at Barangay Villa Imelda along Lake Bito that caused for the massive fish kills that occurred early months of this year.
It was reported that the incident caused for the death of around 22,000 kilograms of tilapia, amounting to P1.7 million in market price.
However, based on the study of the Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources domestic pollution, overcrowding of fish pens and cages, and possible contamination from the nearby mining site were the reason of fish kills in the area.
It noted high fecal coli form counts that indicate that animal waste and human waste are among the main sources of contaminants affecting the water quality of the lake and the study also explained that “depletion of dissolved oxygen can be traced to the excessive number of fish pens currently installed in the lake, causing slow water circulation.”
Lake Bito, a 115-hectare body of water has 48.9 hectares occupied with pens and cages, higher to the 10 percent or only 11.5 hectares allowed under the Fisheries Code of the Philippines.
“I already know the names of person who are against the mining activities in the municipality of MacArthur and I will be setting date to talk with them regarding their complaints because I’d already discussed said matter to those who are supporting the operation of Nicua,” said Board Member Carlo Loreto.
He added that based on the investigation they conducted there was no truth to the claims of some individuals that there is a mining activity at Lake Bito, a lake just s few meters away from the mining site.
“The mayor and the barangay chairman testified that there is no truth that there is mining happening in said lake,” Loreto said.
He added that those opposing to the mining operation of Nicua, were amenable to the idea of dialogue, which they will do Tuesday this coming week.
Loreto added that based on the information he received from the municipal officials of McArthur, they will be conducting the clearing operation at Lake Bito, which means reducing the number of fish cages in said lake based on the approved ordinance of the municipality.
“The 11.5 hectares allowed by the Fishery Code of the Philippines will be sub-divided to all fish pens and cages operators at the lake which means each of them will only have 500 square meters each,” Loreto explained.
However, some residents are opposing to the plan of the Municipal Government to get their fish cages and pens this early as their permits for their operation according to them will expire next year.
They added that this will result to affecting their livelihood and in getting source for their daily needs. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)