[Press Release] EMB stands firm on Zambales mining suspension -ATM

EMB stands firm on Zambales mining suspension

Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Region 3 denied the request of Eramen Minerals Incorporated (EMI) and Benguet Nickel Mining Incorporated (BNMI) in Zambales to lift the companies’ suspension orders to be able to haul nickel ore stockpiles weighing est. 170,000 tons.

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BNMI and EMI hauling and transportation were suspended by EMB region 3 last June 9 after the bureau conducted an impact evaluation of waterways and the shores of Sta. Cruz, Zambales on April 24-25 and May 20-22.

According to people’s organization Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz Zambales (CCOS), the two mining companies appealed to EMB Region 3 Dir. Lormelyn Claudio to let them haul nickel ore stockpiles that costs around 23 million USD.

“What BNMI and EMI were saying was EMB should let them haul the stockpiles so that they can have something to pay for their damages and penalties.” said Dr. Benito Molino, President of CCOS.

“According to BNMI and EMI, they are losing one million pesos a day because of the suspension. But whose fault is it?” added Molino.

The “absurd” request according to Molino is clearly “an effort to get around the sanction given by EMB.”

In a statement released by CCOS, Dir. Claudio was quoted saying “Hanggat hindi nila naipapakita na madradraga nila ang mga apektadong daluyan ng tubig, mabayaran ang mga naperwisyo nilang mga magsasaka at mga mangingisda

“at makapagpakita ng kapanipaniwalang programang rehabilitasyon ng mga naperwisyong kapaligiran ay mananatili ang suspension.”

(Until BNMI and EMI dredge the destructed water sources, pay damages to fisherfolks and farmers, and present and conduct a viable and effective rehabilitation plan for all affected areas, the suspension will continue.)

Meanwhile, national anti-mining coalition Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) and People’s Recovery, Empowerment and Development Assistance (PREDA), both are partners of CCOS commended EMB’s firm decision with regard to the mining companies’ suspension orders.

“In behalf of CCOS we would like to thank EMB Region 3 and Dir. Claudio for their decision to deny the request of BNMI and EMI and for sticking with the decision for the betterment and welfare of the environment and the people,

“this is another victory for anti-mining advocates especially to the people of Zambales.” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM national coordinator.

However, in a letter addressed to Dir. Claudio, Alex Hermoso, founding board member and program director of PREDA asserted that, “The other mining companies have to be subjected to the same evaluation and in the meantime desist from operating.”

“EMB’s move is a good sign of the government’s effort to protect the environment and the people. Let’s just hope this becomes a continuing standard of the government in dealing with environmental concerns.” Garganera concluded.

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Concerned Citizens of Zambales is a non-stock non-profit organization that advocates and supports positive and sustainable societal change in the town of Sta. Cruz, especially in the sector of environment, health and human rights. CCOS started in April 2011 and ever since fought against destructive mining operations in the area.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the AMMB.

For more information:

Dr. Benito Molino, CCOS President, (0916) 372.71.84 <ben696molino@yahoo.com>
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0917) 549.82.18 <nc@alyansatigilmina.net>
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer, (0927) 623.50.66 checkzab@gmail.com

Additional Information:

There are a total of six (6) mining affected barangays in Zambales namely Tubo-tubo north and south, Guinabon, Guisguis, Lucapon south and Babuyan.

A total of 8.5 million metric tons of nickel is extracted in Zambales per year. On May 2014, nickel ore price reached US $135/ton.

On April 24-25 and May 20-22 EMB-Region III conducted an impact evaluation of waterways and the shores of Sta. Cruz. The bureau found out that BNMI’s dredged laterite ore materials were “improperly stockpiled” along the Alinsaog River and downstream of adjoining Inmalpay Creek, with EMI “contributing” to siltation.

To date, hundreds of hectares of farmlands are affected by the mining companies as the mining operations already caused damages 30 nautical miles off the shore.

ATM Press Release
2 July 2014

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