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Small-scale mining alive in Mindoro

/ 02:20 AM December 30, 2014

Small-scale gold mining continues in Oriental Mindoro province, despite an ordinance prohibiting the activity.

Law enforcers on Nov. 25 apprehended at the port of Calapan City two trucks loaded with soil believed to contain gold residues.

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Roland de Jesus, chief of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan, said the persons, who attempted to transport the tailings, were charged with theft of mineral or violation of Republic Act No. 7942 or the Mineral Resources Exploration, Development, Utilization and Conservation Act.

Evidence

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“In fact, (on Dec. 17), we gave the local government (of Oriental Mindoro) the results of the mineral analysis to be used as evidence in court,” de Jesus said in a recent phone interview.

Supt. Glicerio Cansilao, Calapan City police chief, said the tailings were extracted from Puerto Galera town. The minerals were placed in 428 sacks, each weighing 30 kilos.

Documents from the office of Calapan prosecutor Dorina Joya showed the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PG-Enro) filed a case for theft against four persons on Friday.

The violators were drivers Juniel Gamier, 29, of Barangay Calsapa, San Teodoro and Rodel Gutierrez, 53, of Barangay Tabinay, Puerto Galera; and their helpers Virgilio Maranan, 41, and Godofredo Maranan, 29, both also of Tabinay.

Mining sites

Chief Inspector Emerson Tarac, Puerto Galera police chief, said small-scale miners operate in Barangay Dulangan, Puerto Galera.

A source, who requested not to be identified in fear of reprisal from operators, said mining also thrives in Tabinay for a selling price of P1,200 per gram.

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“Sometime in the second quarter (of the year), we discovered a mining site and confiscated mining equipment. A problem, though, is that the miners would claim they were only caretakers of the equipment,” said the source.

Mike Jumig, PG-Enro head, said gold residues could fetch from P1,800 to P2,000 per gram in the province. He said it is difficult to make arrests as it would take nearly half a day to go to the site and texters, tipsters and runners would preempt their operations.

Difficulties

Jumig said on February 11 last year, they were able to arrest and detain 19 miners from Tabinay and Dulangan. “But all of them are on bail with some not from the province while others are into hiding,” he said.

Pastor Hermie Allera of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente in Oriental Mindoro, said environmental groups are working to identify the areas where they believe mining continues to exist.

“The law enforcers are trying very hard to apprehend but the remoteness of the areas makes it difficult for them. This needs the cooperation of many people,” said Evelyn Cacha, co-convenor of the province-wide Alyansa Laban sa Mina (Alliance Against Mining).

Oriental Mindoro has a 25-year moratorium until 2026 against big-scale mining operations. “Only sand and gravel are allowed,” said Jumig.

De Jesus said in 2012, the province also stopped issuing mining permits to small-scale operators. Jumig said prior to the prohibition they had a list of 300 to 400 permits for small-scale mining.

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TAGS: Calapan City, Maricar Cinco, Mindoro, Mining, Regions, Small-scale Mining
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