Share |

DENR-EMB serves desist order to Paracale mining firms

DAET, Camarines Norte (Nov. 27, 2011) – A Team of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Environmental Management Bureau (DENR - EMB) served Friday (Nov. 25) a Cease and Desist Order to three of the six mining firms in Paracale town in this province.

 The DENR-EMB  action is in response to a complaint filed by a fishermen organization, “Samahang Mangingisda ng Paracale,” that Mercury poisoning has contaminated the town’s fishing lanes and two major rivers.

There are also apprehensions that the local potable water system is now at risk.

The complaint also included an allegation that a coastal resident died of Mercury poisoning after getting in contact with water contaminated with mining waste.

Sources from the Congressional office of Camarines Norte 2nd district Representative Elmer Panotes identified the mining firms as Green-Gold,Triple A and CLF.

Since Nov. 23, the DENR-EMB has conducted water tests in the coastal waters of Paracale and in the Malaguit and Bato-Balani rivers where miners are reportedly using Mercury to separate gold from river soil.

Next week, the DENR team will also serve closure orders to several unauthorized mining operations in Jose Panganiban and Labo towns.

The  team serving the desist orders has sought police security from Camarines Norte police director Roberto Fajardo because the mining issue here has created a tussle between the DENR and Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado.

Camarines Norte First district Representative Renato Unico Jr., who has Congressional jurisdiction over the mining towns, also said Friday that he is seeking,  in aid of legislation, a moratorium on mining in Camarines Norte to end the illegal operations of many mining firms in this province.

Back in October, Unico initiated a Congressional inquiry for concerned agencies of the DENR and mining stakeholders to shed light on the legalities of the current mining operations.

Unico laments that conflicting policies of the national government on the mining industry have created confusion among mining firms here. Specifically, grantees of “small mining” permits that the provincial government can issue tend to overstretch the limits their privileges.

“Sa hirap ng pagkuha ng environmental compliance para sa large scale mining sa DENR, kinakagat ng mining investors iyong” small scale mining permit “na puwede ibigay ng gobernador ng probinsya para sila ay maka pag operate, wala pang kahirap-hirap,” Unico said.

The practice has resulted in  “overlapping of granted permits” that has caused violent confrontations among mining concessioners, Unico said.

According to him, some recipients of “small scale mining” permits use dynamites, which require large scale mining permits.

Unico also said that even quarry permits granted by the provincial government have the phrase  “including other allied minerals”  that grantees take as a license to mine gold and other precious stones. (SONNY SALES)