THE provincial government of Davao Oriental seeks to permanently close the mining company that allegedly polluted the Mapagba and Pintatagan Rivers in Banaybanay.

In an online statement released on January 22 by the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental, Governor Nelson Dayanghirang requested to cancel the permit of the Riverbend Consolidated Mining Corp./Arc Nickel Resources Inc. (RCMC/ANRI) mining company that was involved in the heavy siltation incident of the said rivers on January 14.

“In his letter addressed to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Chief Secretary Roy Cimatu, Governor Dayanghirang requested the agency to not allow the mining company to resume its operations as he seeks the permanent closure of the mining area,” the statement read.

Dayanghirang’s letter to DENR, dated January 20, stated that the technical personnel of the provincial government discovered that the siltation ponds in the operation site were not wide and deep enough, which caused the water discharge to overflow since it was also not directed to catchment ponds.

He also said the "blatant disregard" of RCMC/ANRI to environmental protection and enhancements caused immeasurable environmental damages that should be sanctioned.

“I would strongly recommend for the cancellation of the mining permit of RCMC/ANRI, do not allow RCMC/ANRI to resume its mining operations and the permanent closure of the mining area concerned,” said Dayanghirang in his letter to DENR.

This comes after Dayanghirang and Maria Belen Sunga-Acosta, the newly appointed secretary of the Mindanao Development Authority, met to conduct an aerial survey on the situation at the mining site.

The two officials also discussed possible livelihood and environmental programs to help the affected locals in Banaybanay.

Meanwhile, on January 17, RCMC/ANRI was issued a show-cause and cease and desist order and a Notice of Violation by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Davao and Environmental Management Bureau Davao Region-Davao respectively.

DENR-Davao Regional Director Bagani Evasco said the heavy siltation and discoloration seen in Mapagba and Pintatagan Rivers were attributed to the nearby mining operation of RCMC/ANRI.

“(RCMC/ANRI) was ordered to address the issue immediately and the implementation of which shall be subjected to strict monitoring,” said Evasco.

RCMC/ANRI may face three violations under the Environmental Compliance Certificate conditions and a possible sanction with regards to Republic Act No. 9275 Clean Water Act.