CABARROGUIS, Quirino: Responding to protests by environmentalists, an Asia-Pacific mining firm operating here said Alayan Caves in the village of Capisaan in the mountain town of Kasibu “will not be affected by the operation of large-scale mining.”
Officials of OceanaGold Philippines Inc. (OGPI), a local subsidiary of the Australian-based OceanaGold Company (OGC) said protected areas such as caves in the province will not be affected and “ will be preserved instead.”
OGPI has a contract with the national government for its multibillion-peso Didipio Gold-Copper Project which lies along the border of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya provinces.
The far-flung mountain village of Didipio is being claimed by both provinces and is the subject of an “interpleader” in the court of law, according to Brennan Lang, OGPI operations general manager.
“We are aware that the cave system adjudged as one of the country’s longest is some 20 kilometers away from the mining site,” Mike James, technical services superintendent for OGPI’s mining operations, said.
Lang earlier said they even constructed a road network in the tourism areas in Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has classified the Alayan caves as “delicate and fragile geological formations, threatened species, archaeological and paleontological values, and extremely hazardous conditions.”
The DENR also said the caves are natural, non-renewable resources with tremendous value to man, whether scientific, economic, cultural, historical or aesthetic.