Coal mining exploration in Lake Sebu suspended

Gov. Daisy Avance Fuentes said she sent an investigating team to further look into the mining activities and its impact on the 23-kilometer road project being funded by the Asian Development Bank.

Residents of Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu has complained that they are having difficulty bringing their farm produce to the market because of the damaged road.

About two kilometers of the road connecting Upper Sepaka in Surallah town and Ned have been damaged because of the heavy vehicles used by the mining companies in bringing equipment and timber to the exploration sites, residents complained.

Exploration activities in Ned are being undertaken by Daguma Agro Minerals, Inc., its sister company Bonanza Energy Resources, Inc., and MG Mining and Energy Corp.

Residents noted that even the “habalhabal,” a motorcycle with an extended seat to accommodate more passengers, could not negotiate the knee-high mud in the damaged portion of the P73-million ADB road project.

“Vehicles carrying farm products were often stuck, especially when the coal mine drilling was in full operation and using heavy equipment that vibrates, causing adverse effect to the construction of the road section,” Fuentes said.

The governor noted that the roads got damaged because of the chains wrapped around the tires of the heavy equipment to ensure better traction against the slippery mud.

Fuentes added that piles of timber were placed on the road, aggravating the condition.

She said mining exploration activities would be prohibited along the 23-kilometer stretch. She also ordered the removal of the timber placed along the road. “Vehicles with chains attached to the tires shall also be prohibited from using the road section,” the governor added.

The team that investigated the coal exploration activities within Ned is composed of Engr. Ireneo Malesido and Freddie Daylusan, both from the provincial governor’s office, and the Philippine National Police headed by Senior Insp. Rommel Javier.

Coal deposits in Lake Sebu are said to be among the largest reserves in the country.

Flor dela Cruz, community development and external relations officer of MG Mining, said they have not received the provincial government’s order but admitted learning about it three days ago.

She pointed out, though, that MG Mining has not been doing exploration activities in the last four or five months because its subcontractor’s drilling equipment had been malfunctioning.

“Our only activities in Ned at this point are mapping and building community relations,” she said. (MindaNews)