September 10, 2008 – 7:56 p.m.
An environmentalist group based in Southern Mindanao blamed large-scale mining for the landslide in Brgy. Masara in Maco, Compostela Valley province.
The landslide claimed 30 lives and displaced nearly 5,000 residents.
Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao Region (SMR) called for an investigation on the operations of APEX Mining Company and the Crew Minerals Corporation.
The group said that the APEX started its mining operations in the village since 1890s. In 2005, the Crew Minerals Corporation, a Canada-based large-scale mining company, acquired the Masara gold mine.
The Crew Minerals has continued its drillings now reaching up to 32,000 meters, said the group. Underground development of the APEX property continues with portals and ramp systems. The mining company has target production of 85,000 to 180,000 oz of gold and 500,000 to 600,000 oz of silver at the end of 2008.
Francis Morales, spokesperson of Panalipdan-SMR, criticized the denials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau that the tragedy was caused by mining operations.
Morales said, “Monsoon rains happen normally in other parts of the country but landslides are more often than not easily triggered in areas where man-made intervention or aggression occurs such as large scale mining operations which involve the use of heavy equipment and environmentally hazardous methods.”
He added, “Lives are at stake due to the relentless issuance of mining permits to foreign mining companies amidst the government’s sinful leniency and negligence of environmental safeguards.”
The group recounted the landslides in Kingking Mines as well as in Mt. Diwata due to the mining operations in the areas.
The environmentalist group reiterated the call to scrap the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. (Bulatlat.com)