Open-pit and tunnel-type mining operations by Hixbar Mining Company in Brgy. Sta. Barbara in Rapu-Rapu from the post-war period up to the 1970s left at least three rivers contaminated and tracts of land severely barren and unproductive. Rapu-Rapu as also been subjected to environmentally-degrading explorations by Benguet Consolidated, Inc, Toronto Ventures, Inc. Sfinix, and Lafayette.
“The local peasants and fisher folk are already so traumatized and deprived by the damage left by the HIXBAR mining company and the recent mine spills of Lafayette. The DENR is dangerously toying with an environmental time bomb in its decision to allow Lafayette’s large-scale mining operations to continue in the island’s fragile ecosystem,” Concepcion said.
“The mine will only aggravate poverty among the people. Rich opportunities for agricultural development will be obliterated by open-pit mining, forest denudation, landslides, and massive soil erosion. Rapu-Rapu’s abundant marine life will also be gradually destroyed as the cyanide contamination and fish kills demonstrated, and the people’s livelihood will be eventually wiped out. DENR has started to unleash an environmental time bomb with the full commercial operation of Lafayette,” she continued.
Concepcion noted that Lafayette Mining, even with the FLO, has yet to publicly prove how it intends to resolve the problem of AMD, especially in light of objections from RRFFC commissioners that Lafayette’s existing technology is useless against AMD and in fact could enhance it.
Defend Patrimony vowed to mobilize wider opposition to the Lafayette Mining’s commercial operations in the coming weeks. Bicolanos will be also holding a community action on February 11 and 12 in Rapu-rapu and Legazpi City to protest the Rapu-Rapu mine reopening. (Bulatlat.com)