STA. CRUZ, Zambales: Mine workers are seeking the continued operations of three nickel mining companies here.
About 500 placard bearing mine workers and beneficiaries of the industry from Santa Cruz trooped to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Office in Quezon City and held a dialogue with officials of the agency. They said they want Benguet Nickel Minerals Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc. and LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc. to continue their operation in the locality.
Orlan Mayor, president of the Coalition of Mine Workers, Families and Communities (CMWFC), said their move was aimed at halting the possible suspension anew of the mining firms’s operations purportedly in response to the DENR’s hearing the complaint of Concerned Citizens of Santa Cruz (CCOS), which alleges the mining firms violated the conditions of the Temporary Lifting Order (TLO) imposed against them.
CMWFC is composed of mine workers in Santa Cruz and nearby towns and their families that advocate responsible mining. Mayor said their coalition is pushing for systematic, humane and pro-environment mining.
In their dialogue at Quezon City, the DENR informed the coalition that teams from the agency have been dispatched to Santa Cruz to assess the compliance of the three mining companies. The teams will finish the report of their assessment next week.
Records showed the DENR- Mines and Geosciences Bureau issued on June 15 last year a suspension order to four mining firms operating in Santa Cruz, which also include Zambales Diversified Metals Corp.
The suspension displaced at least 3,000 mining workers in the area.
After more than seven months, the mining corporations were able to resume operation when they were issued by the DENR a TLO in February 20, 2015. But the lifting order lapsed on Wednesday.
Mayor said that their group trooped the to DENR Central Office so the agency will not to be swayed by the issues raised by CCOS against the mining firms.
Since the start of mining operation in this town, thousands of local folks have benefited from the various community projects initiated by the mining firms. The mining firms also provided day care centers, schools, water system, and health centers for the community. Livelihood and skills training were also provided to local folks.