Surigao Norte environment body to probe mining firm for ‘violations’

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/19 November) – The Provincial Environment and Management Office (Pemo)of Surigao del Norte will investigate allegations of violations of environment laws against a mining company operating in Masapelid Island in Placer town.

Pemo assistant officer Jeanette Anonuevo-Pontillo said the investigation will take place either on the last week of November or the first week of December “since there are still several site investigations that we have to undertake.”

Last week, Barangay Lakandula councilor Abelardo Lambus and several other barangay officials went to Capitol purposely to meet with Gov. Sol Matugas. But the governor instructed the group to talk with the provincial administrator who in turn told them to talk with Pemo.

Pontillo said it is true that the complaint-petition lodged by Lambus and company will have to go through their department since they will be the one to recommend measures to the governor based on the actual situation in the field.

The provincial board also voted three weeks ago to conduct a fact-finding mission on the reported environmental and legal violations of Bundok Mineral Resources Corporation (BMRC).

BMRC is reportedly going to resume operations today. This could not be verified however as officials were not available for comment.

Pontillo said that if the allegations against the company are proven, their office may issue a sanction, in particular a cease-and-desist order.

She added they have received reports BMRC has continued to operate.

A few months ago, All-Acacia Resources Inc., another large-scale mining company operating in Mabuhay, Sison town asked the provincial board’s committee on environment to grant it a permit to operate as a small-scale mining firm “for drilling purposes” only.

Simeon Vicente Castrence, committee chairperson said in a separate interview that the provincial board declined the request.

“This is a unique request since it will be operating for drilling purposes only and that it is a large-scale mining company which makes it even unusual,” he said.

Meanwhile, the SP will decide today on the schedule of its probe on BMRC. (Vanessa Almeda/MindaNews)