15 mining firms in Caraga suspended by Lopez allowed to operate again

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Claver orange water on beach head
Children playing on the beach dig into the sand and out oozes orange-colored water in Barangay Taganito, at the mining town of Claver in Surigao del Norte. Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5-InterAksyon

SURIGAO CITY, Philippines — Fifteen mining firms in the Caraga region that former Environment secretary Gina Lopez had suspended for various violations have been allowed to operate again as they appeal their cases.

The firms “have filed an appeal and motion for reconsideration so all of them have been allowed to operate in the meantime,” Roger De Dios, regional director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, said at the opening of the 4th Caraga Mining Symposium and Safety Competition on Friday, October 6.

Lopez, who was rejected by the Commission on Appointments, had suspended the 15 firms for siltation of rivers and coasts, and for destroying watersheds.

Seven of the mines are in Dinagat Islands, a mineral reservation area since 1939: AAMPhil Natural Resources Exploration, Kromico Inc., Libjo Mining Corporation, Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation, Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corp., SinoSteel Philippines H.Y. Mining Corporation, and Wellex Mining Corporation.

Four others — ADNAMA Mining Resources Corp., Claver Mineral Development Corp., Platinum Group Metals Corp, Hinatuan Mining Corp and Claver Mineral Development Corporation — are in Surigao del Norte, the remaining three — CTP Construction and Mining Corp., Carrascal Nickel Corp., and Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation — in Surigao del Sur:.

Aside from these, early this year, MGB-Caraga suspended Century Peak Corporation for environmental violations and failing to implement social development projects.

Lopez was replaced by former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Roy Cimatu, who was confirmed on Wednesday.

The environmental group Caraga Watch has urged the MGB and DENR to implement Lopez’s orders.

“MGB and DENR’s response on the sanctions imposed earlier only proves how inutile and bankrupt our mining law and policies are,” said Caraga Watch chairman Reverend Pio Mercado.