Old mine sites in Kibungan are still targets for mineral exploration by various foreign and local mining companies, according to the town’s local elective officials.
BY LYN V. RAMO
Posted by Bulatlat.com
Vol. VIII, No. 27, August 10-16, 2008
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (247 kms. north of Manila) – Old mine sites in Kibungan are still targets for mineral exploration by various foreign and local mining companies, according to the town’s local elective officials.
Kibungan Vice-Mayor Susan Saley-Atuyoc, who was attending a mining conference here Aug. 7, said staff and employees of mining firms frequent the Boneng mine site of the Western Minolco. The site has been closed since 1980 due to company problems.
Earlier Lubo Barangay (village) Captain Arturo Collado, also Association of Barangay Captains president of Kibungan, said his constituents started to lose patience with the insistence of Al Magan Mining Exploration Company (AMMEC) in mining a 132-hectare area at the Benguet-Ilocos Sur boundary, which includes Brgys. Lubo and Madaymen.
Atlas Mining Corporation is reportedly showing some interest in reopening the old mines, according to Atuyoc.
The town’s residents, however, prefer planting the place to sayote, the vice-mayor disclosed. Some even take pains carrying rich topsoil to rehabilitate the open pit site, which was abandoned for at least 28 years, to grow crops.
“Nakitan ti tattao ti madi nga inyeg ti minas isu a madi dan” (People have seen the adverse effects of mining so they are apprehensive), Atuyoc told the media.
Besides what was done in Boneng in Lubo in the 1970s and 1980s, mining explorations also took place in Tabbak in Brgy. Palina, Sakarang in Brgy. Madaymen, and Kolokol in Brgy. Poblacion. According to Atuyoc, these open explorations were also conducted in the 1970s and 1980s, almost simultaneously with the operations of the Boneng mines.
Atuyoc welcomes information and education efforts of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) to raise people’s consciousness on mining.
She confirmed reports that Kibungan folk have continuously petitioned the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to spare their communities and stop issuing mining permits.
“Nakukulitan na sila” (They are pestered) Atuyoc said, explaining the people’s indifference to visiting mining engineers.
Atlas reportedly presented its five-year exploration plan to the local town council but, Atuyoc said, what would count more are the results of the field-based investigation and the communities’ free and prior informed consent (FPIC) as provided for by the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) of 1998.
Atuyoc assured the people that the council would study each proposal and lead the people in their legal pursuits and research efforts regarding mining. Northern Dispatch / Posted by (Bulatlat.com)