• Zambales mining conflict worsens

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    SANTA CRUZ, Zambales: A top official of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the De­partment of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said two mining firms allowed to resume mining last year in Zambales has been cleared to continue their operations, while two other mining companies will remain suspended.

    This, according to Dr. Benito Molino, chairman of the anti-mining group Concerned Citizens of Sta Cruz (CCOS), who said MGB Director Leo Jasareno told him on Friday that Benguet Nickel Mines, Inc. (BNMI) and Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (ZDMC) has been cleared by the agency to continue their mining operations in northern Zambales while the suspension on Eramen Minerals Inc. (EMI) and LnL Archipelago Minerals Inc. (LAMI) will remain in force.

    Molino added Jasareno is under instruction to forward the report to DENR for consideration.

    “The report is with me now, Doc. But I am under instruction to forward to DENR, for consideration. This report cleared two mines. I am forwarding my options to the DENR Secretary,” Jasareno’s text message to Molino said.

    Molino’s group CCOS and other anti-mining advocates earlier asked MGB to heed the call of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Zambales to issue a moratorium on mining operations in the province.

    According to Molino, BNMI and ZDMC have committed the biggest environmental destruction yet were the ones whose suspensions were temporarily lifted by the government.

    Molino said BNMI and ZDMC are allowed to extract 3.0 million dry metric tons (DMT) each annually or a total of 6.0 million DMT while EMI is allowed from 0.6 million DMT to 1.5 million DMT and LnL Archipelago Minerals,Inc. (LAMI) 1.0 million DMT or a total of 1.6 to 2.5 DMT.

    The date when the order will be enforced is indefinite, said Molino.

    “It is very clear that this MGB and this government will never protect our human rights, we have to put our acts together to fight for our rights,” Molino said.

     PATRICK ROXAS

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    1 Comment

    1. Peter Julian on

      The primary job of the DENR is to protect the environment. As it is, the agency is assisting in the destruction of the environment. Are the officials receiving money for giving the imprimatur to exploit the resources in these areas?