CORDON, Isabela: Farmers and residents here are alarmed over the continued “illegal” mining operations of a Chinese-owned mining firm shutdown by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
Vice Mayor Charlita Mariano said the operation is very alarming as the Golden Summit Mining Corp. (GSMC) now uses heavy equipment units in the villages of Anonang, Kakilingan and Villa Miemban.
Residents are also wondering why the mining firm is being tolerated and allowed to operate in the mineral-rich villages without the necessary government permits. They claimed that the GSMC has been extracting minerals for many years using only its application for an exploration permit.
Mariano said the Cordon residents suffered from the operations, which affected their corn and rice fields.
Recently, farmers and residents mounted a protest rally in front of the town hall to complain about the government’s “inaction” to their call for an operation stoppage.
The residents also claimed in an official statement that GSMC Chief Executive Officer Osmundo Chua ordered the entry of heavy equipment in their farmlands, promising royalties to landowners, which led to the distraction of their crops. Worse, the landowners were not reportedly paid as the mineral extractions were reportedly unproductive.
Mariano said the farmers also complained of environmental violations that include the flattening of mountains and the blocking of the Diadi River flow. The river is connected to the watershed area and the upper Magat River and is a contributor to the irrigation water supply coming from the Magat Dam.
“I wish and appeal to Golden Summit to pay attention to MGB’s call to stop their illegal mining operations in our town. The Local Government of Cordon never issued any permit much less an Ore Transport Permit (OTP). We never signed anything but still they persist with their illegal activities,” Mariano said.
Residents who showed video footages of the illegal mining activities to local officials, said the area is continuously being bulldozed and dug, creating an open pit to extract minerals. These ores are reportedly hauled to Barlo village in Mabini, Pangasinan province.
The MGB in Isabela has allegedly issued a stoppage and vacate order for the GSMC. It is due to conduct an investigation on the claim of residents on the use of blasting and heavy equipment units in its operation.