Marinduque still being targeted by mine firms

POSTED: Monday, June 9th, 2014

Despite mining disaster in 1996

CALAPAN CITY — The island province of Marinduque, despite being hounded and tagged to have the country’s worst mining disaster which happened in 1996, is still among the area in MIMAROPA region that is most sought after by prospecting mining companies.
In a press statement, the environmental group Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (Macec), disclosed that at least 20 local and foreign mining firms are now applying to mine in Marinduque.
And these, despite the existing mining moratorium being effected by the provincial government of Marinduque and while some of its municipalities have their own versions of anti-mining laws.

But in a separate interview last week, Rolando de Jesus, head of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for Region 4B or MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), stated the actual number of active mining applications in Marinduque is down to only eight.

“Definitely not 20,” De Jesus said, adding since 2010, MGB, the agency in charge of mining licenses, has
> “purged” the list.

According to Macec, one company in the active list of applicants, Consolidated Mines Inc., has an application for a mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) with the national government, while another, Affluere Minerals Corp., was issued by the government an exploration permit in May 2010.

On the other hand, Youngsun Mineral Development Corp., a latest mining applicant, seeks to explore at least 653 hectares in 10 villages — five each in the towns of Boac and Mogpog.  The firm wants to explore the areas for gold and copper in Marinduque.
Meanwhile, the other mining companies are setting their sights on the province’s iron, nickel, manganese and black marble deposits.

It was also disclosed that among the active applications is that of Marcopper Mining Corp., the company responsible for the 1996 mine-tailings spill.

Despite the string of criminal and civil charges it faces, Marcopper seeks to renew its 25-year lease contract to mine in the said province.

And some of the companies are not even registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as revealed by Elizabeth Manggol, Macec executive secretary,.
“Some companies are applying for overlapping (areas) that when we computed exceeded the total land area of Marinduque,” she said.

For the record, the small island province of Marinduque has a land area of 95,925 hectares while the total land area being applied for by the said applying companies measure to around 100,000 hectares. (By JUANCHO R. MAHUSAY)


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