Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 3, Number 30 August 31 - September 6, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
Bulk Mining to Bulk Water Project
Corporation (BC), once the Orient’s largest gold mining firm, is ploughing its
investment from bulk mining to bulk water project where the company expects to
supply water to Baguio City and its environs. Ecological concerns have been
By Lyn V. Ramo Northern Dispatch Weekly Posted by Bulatlat.com
CITY - The president and chief executive officer of erstwhile richest gold mine
in the Orient is now looking for new opportunities, not only for
income-generating, but also new projects and programs.
Corporation’s (BC) Benjamin Philip Romualdez admits that the mining industry
is unstable, attributing that to the inferior method of mining, poor
implementation of government policies as well as non-compliance with
discloses that his company’s mission now will not only be limited to mining
but also some other aspects of business ventures that will not destroy the
environment. He says that BC’s attention is now geared at environmental
concerns, in general.
mining company is now looking into a bulk water supply project with the city
government here as it prepares to participate in another bidding. Earlier in
1995, it lost in a bid for a water supply venture for Baguio’s residents.
proposal to supply water to the city, however, may have adverse effects on the
local folks in the communities of Itogon.
Sicuan, an elder in Tuding, Itogon and an officer of the Itogon Inter-barangay
Alliance (IIB-A) revealed that the bulk water project will take away all the
remaining water left from BC’s mining operations.
has allegedly applied for water rights on practically all water sources being
tapped at present for domestic use in Itogon households, just a few kilometers
from the city. Its plan is to put up a water reservoir at the open pit mine site
in Antamok , a purifying plant in Barangay Tuding and distribution tanks in Ucab
and Tuding. Some of the water will be distributed to Itogon households through
the Itogon Water District and the rest diverted to Baguio.
ti umili iti danum a libre itatta” (People will have to pay for water
which they are at present using freely), Sicuan said.
have always stated that large amounts of water taken out from the aquifers will
cause the surrounding soil and rock formations to recede and thus may cause
shrinkage in the landforms aboveground.
mining operations have depleted mining areas in Benguet of precious minerals,
dried up water sources and have inflicted an irreversible damage to the fragile
ecosystem. Its mining sites in Itogon have been abandoned as manifested in its
sale of surface facilities such as offices, mills and bunkhouses.
the company has not maintained its road systems, and except for some contracted
community miners in its Balatoc Mines, its mine sites have long been idle.
attempt to re-open its Acupan Mines last year was met by a series of protest
actions by local communities. They put up a human barricade that lasted several
BC’s bulk water project has not gained community approval save for some local
government officials who assured the company that a community consultation would
decide if it would be acceptable to the people.
just celebrated its 100th year on Aug. 12. It started its operations in Itogon
at the turn of the 20th century and has since been among the top-producing
gold-mining companies in the world. It boasts of contributing some P4.7 billion
in taxes and around P2.6 billion in environmental support.
open pit mining project, the Grand Antamok Project, in Barangay (village) Loacan
remained an environmental hazard even after it was officially closed in 1998.
The pit is a deep pool of mining effluents from Luneta community above it.
Muckwaste continue to flow into the river system despite assurance from BC’s
spokespersons before that it would find ways to “rebuild and bring back the
people’s mountain.” The mill is a monstrous junk yard which looks equally
hazardous not only due to the possible toxic effects on the low-lying
agricultural lands in Poblacion barangay but also of the metal oxides the
abandonment may have caused. GAP’s tailing pond keeps on overflowing with
toxins during rainy days, and the threat of its eventual collapse still haunts
communities below it.
Balatoc operations today do not have any tailings pond to contain its waste. It
is the subject of a clamor for investigation following complaints that Itogon
fishponds were affected by mine tailings.
open pit mine sites, such as the CalHorr in Virac and the Sto. Mine in Tublay
remain devoid of perennial vegetation except for some sunflower and sayote,
While it is true that the city and suburbs need water for a tourism industry the government has been grooming all these years, BC’s proposal to take water out of Itogon is in hot water. With reports from Joseph Cabanes /DzEQ/Nordis/Posted by Bulatlat.com