PROVINCIAL NEWS

29/11/2003

Mayor warns mining could ruin Mindanao environment
By: Bong Reblando
 
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Mayor Suharto Mangudadatu of Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat has warned of environmental disaster posed by the open pit mining method employed by the Tampakan Mineral Resources Corp, (TMRC).
 
The mine tailings from the operation of the joint Filipino-Australian mining firm, Indophil, for a copper-gold project in areas of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur may flow into the resource rich Buluan Lake.

“Our fear is that the mining operation on an open pit scheme may affect our environment and the fishing industry in Lutayan once the mining firm unleashes its industrial wastes,” Mangudadatu said.

He added that reports by environmental advocates disclosed that open pit mining is most destructive to the ecology. Mangudadatu said his town is not part of the mining concession of TMRC. Adjacent to the mining area is Columbio, Sultan Kudarat.

The mayor hinted that the TMRC must explain how it would counter allegations that its mining operations are not destructive to the environment.

They must convince me and my councilors, he stressed.

“We may change our stance if TMRC could satisfactorily present comprehensive environmental safety measures in their mining operations,” Mangudadatu told reporters.

TMRC is currently conducting drilling operations to validate earlier findings of Western Mining Co. that the concession area has the third biggest deposit of gold and copper in the entire world.

Bong Coloso, spokesman for mining company, however, debunked the claim that TMRC endangers the environment by assuring that its operation is environment-friendly and that its safety measures conform with world standards.

The Lutayan Municipal Council earlier passed a resolution opposing the mining project of Western Mining Co., the previous proponent of the copper and gold project now pursued by TMRC, because of the firm’s alleged environmentally destructive mining activity.

“TMRC protects and preserves the environment. We have adopted safety measures at par with the world’s standard to ensure that our operation would not lead to a future environmental catastrophe within and outside our area of operation,” added Landy Doria, TMRC’s project coordinator.

“On top of the stringent safety measures, Doria emphasized that TMRC-Indophil has also allotted trust funds for repair or rehabilitation of the areas under operation to prevent an environmental degradation.”

  

Copyright ©2003 Manila Bulletin. All Rights Reserved.