GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 10 April) – Police operatives in Sultan Kudarat province recovered on Tuesday some 250 sacks of gold ores that were allegedly extracted illegally from a small-scale mining site in the mineral-rich mountains of Bagumbayan town.
Chief Insp. Celestino Daniel, Bagumbayan police station chief, said Wednesday the gold ores were intercepted by their personnel in a community police assistance center or outpost at a portion of Barangay Bai Saripinang in Bagumbayan.
He said the gold ores, initially pegged at around 10 tons, was found aboard a truck bound for T’boli town in South Cotabato.
“The truck’s driver failed to present an ore transport permit and other necessary documents,” the official said.
Daniel said their initial investigation showed that the mineral or gold ores originated from a supposed illegal mining site in the upland portion of Barangay Santo Nino in Bagumbayan town.
He said the truck’s driver, Edil Jamuay, identified the owner of the seized ores as a certain Gilbert Rado.
“The ores are due for delivery to a mill in Barangay Edwards, T’boli for processing,” he said.
The area, which is part of the Daguma Mountain Range, is covered by six small-scale mining permits issued by the local government, he said.
Portions of the mountain range had been found to contain huge deposits of gold, copper and other minerals.
Mining firm Global Resources Co. Ltd. (GRCO) Isulan Mining Corporation, which is 40 percent owned by a Korean company, had conducted exploration activities in the area under a mining tenement covering around 5,103 hectares.
GRCO earlier forged a mining operation agreement with Fadicasu Mining Corporation, which has acquired a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Meantime, Daniel said they set to file charges this week against the truck’s driver and the alleged owner of the mineral ores for violation of Section 53 of Republic Act (RA) 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
He said such provision specifically requires mining operators to secure ore transport permits that specify the origin and quantity in moving extracted non-processed minerals from a mining area.
In the case of minerals extracted from small-scale mining areas, the ore transport permits are issued by a local government licensing office that is commissioned by the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)