Mamanwa Lumads barricade mining firm in Surigao Norte

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/15 June) – A mining company in Claver town in Surigao del Norte has been forced to suspend operations after some 150 members of the Mamanwa tribe today put up a barricade against it for alleged non-payment of royalty amounting to P30 million.

Datu Reynante Buklas, one of the Mamanwa chieftains told MindaNews in a phone interview that they are barricading the Adnama Mining Resources Incorporated (AMRI) in Barangay Urbiztondo where the firm operates.

Buklas said AMRI has failed to pay royalty to the tribe, which holds the ancestral domain title to the area.

He said that AMRI, which has been mining nickel ore in the area and exporting it to China, has not paid them since last year forcing them to stage the barricade.

“We are deprived of this share and we feel being abused by this mining company,” Buklas said in the vernacular.

Section 7-b of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 entitles indigenous peoples to “negotiate the terms and conditions for the exploration of natural resources in the areas for the purpose of ensuring ecological, environmental protection and the conservation measures, pursuant to national and customary laws…”

Four firms are currently operating in Claver — the Taganito Mining Corporation, Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation which is now operated by AMRI, Platinum Group Mining Company and Taganito High-Pressure Acid Leach Nickel Corporation.

The 48,678-hectare mining areas in barangays Taganito and Urbiztondo are covered by a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title.

MindaNews tried to contact AMRI officials to get their statement but no to avail.

Buklas said they will continue to barricade until their demand is met, adding more tribe members from different communities will be joining them today and tomorrow.

He said the barricade has forced the company to suspend its operations.

Lt. Col. Vincent Iringan, commander of the 30th Infantry Battalion based in Bad-as, Placer in Surigao del Norte said he was monitoring the barricade and coordinating with the Claver police station to ensure “that no violence will occur in that area.”

“My men initially talked to some datus today and they assured us that they won’t do any violence in the area,” he added. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)