Unregulated mining tagged cause of casualties in landslides | Inquirer News

Unregulated mining tagged cause of casualties in landslides

/ 09:01 PM July 20, 2011

DAVAO CITY—A study released by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) blamed the unregulated influx of small-scale miners in gold rush towns for high casualties in landslides that occur in these mining areas.

“Although these landslides were not so extensive as compared to what happened in Ginsaugon (in Leyte) in 2006, they claim more lives because of the uncontrollable influx of miners in these areas,” said the report prepared by Salvio Lasierna, MGB supervising science research specialist.

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Lasierna headed a team of geologists who conducted detailed geo-hazard mapping in the gold rush towns of Compostela and Pantukan towns of Compostela Valley from May 17 to June 13 this year.

The survey, which also serves as a follow up of the initial assessment of the landslide in the mining areas of Panganason village in Pantukan this year, identified at least six sitios and puroks in the Pantukan Barangay of Napnapan and Sitio Panganason of Barangay Kingking as highly susceptible to landslides.

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In Compostela town, Purok 20 of Barangay Ngan was tagged as highly susceptible to landslides.

“Indiscriminate mining by small-scale miners contribute largely to landslides in Pantukan area,” said Lasierna in the report. “The cutting of slopes for the construction of ball mills, siltation ponds and overcrowding of houses within a small area have aggravated the condition of the slopes.”

The study said landslides in Pantukan happen in areas close to road projects and mining sites while landslides in Compostela town happen along new road cuts.

The report said the most landslide-prone areas in Compostela are mostly in steep valley walls and mountain slopes.

The team of geologists also said that in the Panganason landslide in Pantukan early this year and the Diat landslide in 1986, “majority of the casualties came from neighboring towns.”

“They construct houses and ball mills everywhere without the approval of the municipality,” the report said.

It also said mining areas instantly turn into residential communities without zoning or land-use plans.

The study asked local officials to strictly enforce land-use plans, regulate the construction of ball mills and tailing ponds to prevent overloading of slopes and seepage that could trigger landslides.

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TAGS: Accidents, environment, Geology, Gold rush, Health, Land use, Landslide, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Mining, Regions, Research, science, zoning
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