Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rosales, Gordon raise alarm on mining

Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and Zambales Vice Gov. Anne Gordon yesterday issued separate calls for responsible mining in the wake of the tragedy that struck the Compostela Valley mining area.

Rosales took the government to task for failing to stop the illegal mining activities in Compostela Valley.

“I was there during the ’80s and was then asking the government to do something or if there was a need to legalize the mining activities there in order to protect the people and environment, to no avail,” the Manila archbishop said.

Rosales clarified that the Catholic Church was not against mining per se for as long as it is regulated and not controlled by “those who mine and destroy the environment.”

Mining is important because it can generate jobs, the Cardinal said.

In Zambales, Gordon said mining companies should practice responsible mining as she expressed concern on the hazards posed by unchecked mining activities on the environment and communities near mining sites.

There are currently eight mining firms operating in Zambales. These are Benguet Corp., Acoje Mining Co., A3 Una Mining Corp., Eramen Minerals Inc., Chrom Mining Resources Corp., all in Sta. Cruz town; Saprolite Mining Inc. in Botolan, Consolidated Mines Inc. and Zambales Chromite Mining Inc., both in Masinloc.

The vice governor said mining firms should address the environmental concerns while the government should keep a close watch on protective areas and make sure that these are not settled by villagers.

“We have to ensure that people are out of harm’s way and the provincial government of Zambales is taking no chances when it comes to the safety of people in mining villages,” said Gordon.

She added that the provincial leadership is very particular regarding the impact of mining activities in the ecosystem of areas where mining is allowed. Arlie Calalo - Manila Standard today

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