MANILA, Philippines — The mining company handling mineral exploration and testing in Sibuyan Island, Romblon, has voluntarily stopped all exploration and testing activities in the area, assuring authorities and stakeholders of cooperation in relation to recent protests and hostilities.
In a statement on Monday, the Altai Philippines Mining Corporation (APMC) assured the public that they are committed to maintaining the “highest standards of environmental responsibility and community engagement.”
It could be recalled that protesters barricaded the port of APMC in a bid to stop the extraction of nickel ore and other minerals. After the protests last Thursday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) stepped in to suspend APMC’s operations.
“In line with this commitment, we have decided to voluntarily halt all exploration and testing activities in Sibuyan Island and to continue our full cooperation and coordination with the relevant authorities to address any concerns or issues that have been raised,” APMC said.
“Our priority is to maintain peace and order, to ensure the concerns and well-being of the Sibuyanons, and to ensure that no parties are negatively impacted by our operations,” it added.
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According to the company, they vow to pursue sustainable mining which would not only help residents of the island but also protect the ecosystem.
“We pride ourselves as stalwarts of sustainable and responsible mining, so we take this as an opportunity to address all recent concerns brought up against our Sibuyan exploration. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to resolve any outstanding concerns,” APMC noted.
But while the stoppage of operations may have been a welcome development to Sibuyan Island, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) believes the fight is not yet over.
“This is a victory of the struggle of Sibuyanons and their deep commitment to protect their natural resources and beautiful environment in Sibuyan Island. But the fight is not yet over. We support their continuing resistance of Sibuyanons against the illegal and destructive mining activities of Altai Philippines Mining Corporation (APMC),” ATM coordinator Jaybee Garganera said.
ATM also accused APMC of harassment by lodging cases against local leaders, saying that the company wants to silence opposition against mining operations in the area.
“We denounce in the strongest possible terms the legal harassment that has been put forward by Altai against local environmental leaders, including ATM leaders Elizabeth Ibanez and Rodne Galicha. This is another attempt of Altai to silence any opposition against their destructive operations, but we stand firm with the local resistance,” Garganera added.
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