• Group welcomes probe on Zambales mining

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    AN anti-mining group on Thursday welcomed the call of a congresswoman for the conduct of an investigation on mining activities in the three municipalities of Zambales.

    The Alyansa Tigil Muna (ATM) Luzon through its campaign officer Jonal Javier, said a resolution of Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla would help press the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to put an end to mining activities of four big mining firms in Zambales.

    Javier said they have been urging the MGB to cancel the permit of mining operations of Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., and LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc. because of the negative effects of its operations on the environment, health of the residents, and to the economy of the province.

    Several other studies showed sound pieces of evidence that calls for the closure of mining activities in the province due to its hazardous effects on the environment and the people’s health.

    MGB reportedly ignored the calls.

    In House Resolution No. 2495 Deloso-Montalla said “the ill-effects of nickel ore mining have been too hard to ignore as threats to the environment, livelihood and inhabitants of the host communities in the municipalities of Masinloc, Candelaria and Santa Cruz.”

    She urged the House Committees on Ecology and Natural Resources to immediately conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the environmental tragedy.

    Masinloc, Candelaria and Santa Cruz, are endowed with high grade mineral resources that mining has become the major economic driver.

    Deloso-Montalla noted that these mining companies have been “practicing unsystematic strip mining methods that led to inefficient recovery of minerals and cause adverse environmental impact like water siltation and dust generation.

    In Santa Cruz alone, she said, the impact of mining activities prior to typhoon Lando early this year has caused to loss some half a billion pesos in terms of food, rice, mango and fish production.

    She said that despite an earlier MGB suspension of operations order, mining companies continue to haul, transport and export their stockpile of laterite ore, trendering said government order toothless and ineffective.

    NELSON BADILLA

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