2 mining firms in Caraga under close watch

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 31 July) – Two mining firms in Caraga Region are currently being closely watched by a multisectoral monitoring group – one firm for polluting a river, and the other because of a crack in its tailings pond.

These are the Marcventures Mining Development Corporation (MMDC) in Cantilan in Surigao del Sur and Greenstone Resources Corporation in Tubod, Surigao del Norte, according to Rene Gonzales, mining environment division chief of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in the region.

Now watching these firms, Gonzales said, is the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT), which is composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and two of its sub-offices (the MGB and Environment Management Bureau), local government units, non-government organizations and the religious sector.

MMDC, which is mining nickel ore, has been the subject of a month-long protest by residents of Cantilan allegedly for polluting the rivers. Indigenous people in the town has likewise held protest actions against the mining company supposedly for desecration of their burial grounds and other sacred places and the destruction of their main water source.

Greenstone Resources Corporation, on the other hand, suffered a major setback in its mining and milling operation after its tailings storage facility cracked last April.

According to the Steve Norregard, managing director of GRC, the crack has been stabilized after putting in earth fillings in the problematic site, and after diverting the Magpayang River over a stretch of 240 meters at 20 meters wide.

The MGB, however, noted there was no spill at the GRC’s tailings pond, but it nevertheless issued a cease and desist order against the mining firm last month.

GRC, a subsidiary of the Australian-based miner Red 5 Limited, has been producing 1,250 ounces of gold per week at its Siana Mines in Tubod town since the start of its commercial operation on April 26, 2012.

The MMT, Gonzales said, will see to it that mining companies are following the environmental enhancement program, which include tree planting and other commitments of the mining companies. Second is to look at the conditions set by the Environmental Compliance Certificate.