The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has suspended indefinitely the mining operations of Citinickel Mines and Development Corp. in Palawan following a spillage accident on June 5, 2014.
MGB Director Leo Jasareno said that the spillage was caused by the breaching of siltation control facilities or ponds in Block C of Citinickel’s mining area in Barangay Pulot, Sofronio Espanola, Palawan.
The accident resulted in massive discoloration of run-offs and the deposit of lateritic sediments along the stretch of Pasi River down to main Pulot River, and
then to the delta area of the river system.
Jasareno said that the company is now facing charges for violation of Republic Act No. 9275 or the Clean Water Act of 2004, which imposes a P200,000 per day penalty.
“This is the second spillage of Citinickel,” Jasareno said, citing the 2012 tailings spill at the company’s Toronto nickel site also in Palawan.
It will be recalled that Citinickel voluntarily suspended operations from November 26, 2012 to December 9, 2012 to conduct cleanup operations, including the vacuuming of sediments that spilled into six farmlands in the area covering five hectares.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a notice of violation to Citinickel after water spilled from its silt pond No. 2 at its Toronto Mining Area in Narra, Palawan. Upon investigation, DENR officials recommended immediate desilting of all waterways along the stretch of Pinagdaguan Falls to lessen the negative effect on agricultural crops most especially during heavy rains.
Meanwhile, Edwin Mojares, OIC-director of MGB Region 4B, said that the company has yet to respond to the Show Cause Order issued by the division in relation to the latest sediment spill.
“As per initial report of our technical personnel that conducted follow-up investigation on the incident, it was observed that the breached portion of the siltation pond was not yet repaired and traces of laterite sediments that spilled from the siltation pond were still evident along the Pasi River,” Mojares said.
The MGB division chief also mandated the company to institute measures to mitigate and remediate the damage caused by the accident and to prevent its recurrence.