Local News: ‘Small-Scale Mining in Negros Alarming’
Small-scale mining in the boundaries of Sipalay City and Hinoba-an town in southern Negros Occidental has reached alarming level and threatens to become another Compostela Valley.
This is based on the presentation made by Eriberto Madalag, Officer in Charge of the Regulatory Services Division of the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) of the provincial government during the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center –Southern Negros meeting held yesterday at the Farmers’ Center in Kabankalan City.
If the situation is not contained it has indications that it will become Compostela Valley 2, Madalag told reporters in an interview after the presentation.
He said the chemicals being used will affect the health of the people and the environment.
Madalag said that the small scale mining is being perpetuated by about 100 families covering the area of about 50-100 hectares in Barangay Nabulaw reportedly within the mining claim of the Philiex Gold Mining Inc., using chemicals such as cyanide and mercury.
He clarified though that the said illegal activity is not sanctioned by the said mining firm because it is still on the exploration stage.
He revealed that these people may have financiers who finance their operations based on their equipments which he describe as completely capable of processing gold.
He explained that these people have initiated diggings on their own like the ones in Compostela valley.
There is the prevailing threat of a landslide or the grounds may collapse due to the continuous diggings made by the illegal miners, Madalag said.
If this is not addressed this will be a very serious problem, Madalag stated.
He pointed out that the provincial government has taken steps to address the situation like a cease and desist order issued by the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau.
"But still the people there continue with the illegal activities maybe for lack of an alternative livelihood".he stressed.
He said the miners extract minerals like gold and ore.
For gold Madalag said the illegal miners can extract at least 10-20 grams per operation peg at P1,700 per gram of gold.
He stressed the situation is alarming because of the use of dangerous chemicals like cyanide and mercury which are discharged to the creeks and other water bodies in the area.* (Dolly Yasa)