DAVAO CITY — Environmental and church groups from Metro Manila started a two-day solidarity mission today, February 26 to document the social and environmental effects of large scale mining in Sta. Cruz Zambales.
Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment said four mining companies with Mineral Production and Sharing Agreement (MPSA) are currently operating in the municipality covering more than 12,000 hectares of land, extracting Nickel and Chromite.
“These are Zambales Diversified Mining Corp. (ZDMC), Filipinas Mining (LAMI), Benguet Nickel Mining Inc., and Eramen Minerals Corp. These companies were into various issues last year due to violations in environmental standards and were suspended by the DENR,” said Clemente.
The residents also put up a barricade in Sta. Cruz town to oppose nickel mining since last January. The Philippine National Police has carried out dispersal operations. Clemente said three protesters were detained by the police.
“Our solidarity mission will investigate human rights violation and the loss of livelihood as raised by the residents of Sta. Cruz,” said Bautista.
Citing the study conducted by Center for Environment Concerns last year, environmental researcher Rhe Candog said the sediments that flooded the area came from mining excavation sites carried during torrential rains due to massive deforestation. Approximate amount of sediments flooded were about 2,629 cubic meters per hectare or 375 truckloads per hectare.
She said the disaster affected more than 13,790 families, resulted in four casualties, and incurred massive damages to livelihood.
“Mining operations in Zambales have caused chronic water, air, and noise pollution in communities in proximity to their operations and roads. These destructions have become more conspicuous when the town was hit by Typhoon Pablo last year, flooding the communities and farmlands with tons of sediments.” said Candog. (davaotoday.com)