CONTRARY to the recent statement of the local government unit (LGU) of Mati City, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (Idis) Environmental Research Specialist Lemuel Manalo said in a press conference on Wednesday, May 25, that the mining operation in Macambol would still have a detrimental effect in Davao Oriental’s tourism industry, particularly to Mt. Hamiguitan, a Unesco heritage site.

According to the Mati LGU, the mining operations of Austral-Asia link Mining Corporation and Hallmark Mining Corporation in Barangay Macambol is located outside Unesco heritage site Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary and four kilometers from the protected site of Pujada Bay Seascape and Landscape.

On Thursday, May 26, Idis released a statement online saying the joint open-pit nickel mining operation poses environmental impacts and threat to its nearby area and community.

"Ang Mt. Hamiguitan is just at the higher elevation of this open pit mining. Ang potential impact ani is wildlife disturbances," Manalo said, adding that the mining is directly adjacent in the strict protection zone of the mountain.

In an ambush interview, he said that the heavy siltation that resulted in the discoloration of Mapagba River and the coastal areas in Banaybanay, Davao Oriental on January 14 this year should have already served as an eye opener for the Mati government to rethink its decision of allowing the operation of mining in the city.

"Specially that Mati has three protected areas, they are very blessed with this landscape and rich biodiversity. They should not venture into mining," Manalo said.

“The environmental impacts of Open-Pit Mining affect water quality, air, hydro-geology, biodiversity, resources, and communities in a wider and regional scope and could not be contained compactly as pollution will always exceed spatial boundaries and delineations,” Idis said.

IDIS cited that the mining operation may affect the terrestrial and aquatic wildlife of Mt. Hamiguitan including the iconic Philippine Eagle inhabiting its forests and may further damage the land formation of the surrounding watershed.

The protected marine area of Pujada Bay is also in danger of the mine tailings containing sediments and other metals that may reach.

At the same time, the mine tailings of the nickel operation may reach the protected marine area of Pujada Bay which is declared to have an excellent reef condition. IDIS says this may threaten the marine environment of Pujada Bay since mine tailings, caused by sediment mineralogy, is a high risk for coral bleaching and decrease the aquatic population and resources.

Mati City said in a statement earlier that environmental protection policies are already established to address the possible impact of the mining operation.

Ben Tesiorna of the Mati City Information Office said a multi-partite monitoring team composed of different elements from the Mati LGU will strictly monitor and enforce compliance to several environmental safeguards that include collector sumps, siltation ponds, geo-textile, and water sampling.

Meanwhile, Idis urges the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) - Davao to dismiss the Mining Production Sharing Agreement issued to Austral-Asia Link and Hallmark Mining Corporations in 2004.

At the same time, the Protected Area Management Boards of Mt. Hamiguitan and Pujada Bay, along with DENR-Davao, is called on to fully implement the closure of the mining operation.

As of the latest, the Austral-Asia Link and Hallmark Mining Corporations is still awaiting approval from DENR-Davao to re-open and resume its operations.

The DENR-Davao has not yet released a statement on the matter.

Davao-based environmental group Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) expressed concern over the re-opening of the open-pit mining in Barangay Macambol, Mati City.

On Thursday, May 26, 2022, IDIS released a statement online saying the joint open-pit nickel mining operation of Austral-Asia Link Mining Corporation and Hallmark Mining Corporation in Barangay Macambol poses environmental impacts and threat to its nearby area and community.

The local government unit of Mati said the mining operation is situated just outside of the UNESCO heritage site of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary and four kilometers from the protected site of Pujada Bay Seascape and Landscape, but IDIS said its close proximity to the protected areas is still alarming.

“The environmental impacts of Open-Pit Mining affect water quality, air, hydro-geology, biodiversity, resources, and communities in a wider and regional scope and could not be contained compactly as pollution will always exceed spatial boundaries and delineations,” the statement read.

IDIS cited that the mining operation may affect the terrestrial and aquatic wildlife of Mt. Hamiguitan including the iconic Philippine Eagle inhabiting its forests and may further damage the land formation of the surrounding watershed.

The protected marine area of Pujada Bay is also in danger of the mine tailings containing sediments and other metals may reach

At the same time, the mine tailings of the nickel operation may reach the protected marine area of Pujada Bay which is declared to have an excellent reef condition. IDIS says this may threaten the marine environment of Pujada Bay since mine tailings, caused by sediment mineralogy, is a high risk for coral bleaching and decrease the aquatic population and resources.

On the other hand, Mati LGU earlier stated that environmental protection policies are already established to address the possible impact of the mining operation.

Ben Tesiorna of the Mati City Information Office said a multi-partite monitoring team composed of different elements from the Mati LGU will strictly monitor and enforce compliance to several environmental safeguards that include collector sumps, siltation ponds, geo-textile, and water sampling.