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Marinduque still magnet for mine firms

/ 03:52 AM May 26, 2014

MOGPOG, Marinduque—Despite the contamination of the province’s river in a 1996 mining disaster that had been tagged as the country’s worst, Marinduque continues to be a magnet for mining prospectors.

According to the group Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (Macec), at least 20 local and foreign mining firms have active mining applications in Marinduque.

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One company, Consolidated Mines Inc., has an application for a mineral production sharing agreement. Another, Affluere Minerals Corp., was issued an exploration permit in May 2010.

The latest applicant, Youngsun Mineral Development Corp., seeks to explore at least 653 hectares in 10 villages—five each in the towns of Boac and Mogpog. The firm wants to explore the areas for gold and copper.

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The other companies are setting their sights on the province’s iron, nickel, manganese and black marble deposits.

Also among the active applications is that of Marcopper Mining Corp.,  the company responsible for the 1996 mine-tailings spill.

Despite the string of criminal and civil charges it faces, Marcopper seeks to renew its 25-year lease contract to mine.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Elizabeth Manggol, Macec executive secretary, said some of the companies are not even registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Some companies are applying for overlapping (areas) that when we computed exceeded the total land area of Marinduque,” she said.

Marinduque has a land area of 95,925 ha while the total land area being applied for by the companies measures 100,000 ha.

In a separate phone interview, also on Tuesday, Rolando de Jesus, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) head for Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), said the number of active applications is down to eight.

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“Definitely not 20,” he said. He added that since 2010, MGB, the agency in charge of mining licenses, has “purged” the list.

The provincial government of Marinduque has an existing moratorium on mining while some of its municipalities have their own versions of antimining laws.

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TAGS: Environmental Issues, Marinduque, Mining and quarrying, mining applications, Philippines - Regions
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