Mining firm stops operations in Surigao del Norte town, for now

Siargao Waves Corp. extracting tons of debris along Jubgan River in Barangay Jubgan to build a wharf and road for its mining operations in the area. Photo taken Nov. 6, 2021 by ROEL N. CATOTO/MindaNews

JUBGAN, San Francisco, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews / 12 November) – A large-scale mining firm has stopped its operations in this village shortly after authorities confirmed in a dialogue that it did not have the required permits, San Francisco Mayor Val Pinat said.

The dialogue on Tuesday at the pastoral center in San Francisco was attended by the mining company, townsfolk, and officials from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-Caraga and other government agencies.

“I told the company (GoSun Siargao Waves Corp.) to pull out their heavy equipment units in the area,” Pinat told MindaNews on Thursday night.

He said the firm’s operations have caused environmental damage.

He said the mining firm is building a wharf and a road along the river to the mining area without a permit.

Ramon Gotinga, one of the owners of GoSun, confirmed the stoppage of their firm’s operations in Jubgan.

Earlier, Gotinga, who is also the assistant provincial administrator, clarified that GoSun is only the “buyer” of the ores and stockpile that would be extracted in the site.

Mayor Val Pinat. Photo taken Nov. 6, 2021 by ROEL N. CATOTO/MindaNews

He said Siargao Waves Corp., which he claimed is a separate corporate entity, is the one applying for a permit to extract the mineral ores.

Gotinga said their plan is to get 100,000 tons of residual waste composed of copper and iron ores to be shipped out to China.

Yet, while Gotinga claimed that GoSun is only the buyer, it’s the one that entered into a contract with the barangay for the construction of the road and wharf.

Surimin, a mining company owned by Mayor Elizabeth Matugas of Dapa, Surigao del Norte formerly held the exploration permit and Mineral Production Sharing Agreement covering the mine site in Jubgan. But the two instruments have expired, according to MGB-Caraga regional director Larry Hernandez.

Several residents said they were happy that the company has stopped its operations.

They said the move will prevent further damage to the environment.

“It’s now rainy season and runoffs end up at the rivers and up to the seas. Their forceful and stealthy operations using their power, influence and resources are unabated. There must be punitive actions against them,” a resident who requested anonymity said.

Gotinga, however, said they will resume operations once the permits are out.

“We are not pulling out our trucks in our yards,” he said. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)