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Philippines to probe mining companies
Rep. Mel Senen S. Sarmiento of Western Samar Province through House Resolution 950 urged the House Committee on Ecology to include in its probe the unabated black sand mining in Luzon Islands.
Sarmiento also called on the concerned government agencies to strictly implement the environmental laws and monitor the activities of foreign and local mining companies.
"Despite extravagant showcases of responsible mining operations, mining companies have violated the country's environmental laws," Sarmiento said, adding that mining disasters occurred in the country in 1996, 1999, 2005 and 2012.
He noted that a total of 1.5 million cubic meters of toxic mine tailing from Marcopper Mining Corp. were disgorged into the Maculapnit and Boac Rivers in Marinduque on March 24, 1996.
In August 1999, the Atlas Mining Development Corp. discharged 5.7 million cubic meters of acidic wastewater into the Sapangkau River in Toledo City, Cebu.
The Lafayette Inc. spilled mine tailings with cyanide, which caused fish kills, paralyzing the livelihood of poor fishermen in Rapu-rapu, Albay and some fishing villages in Sorsogon.
Some 20 million metric tons of sediment from the tailing pond of Philex Mining Corp. in Tuba, Benguet flowed into water channels in August 2012.
"After months of recurring leakages, the Philex mine spills had become the biggest mining disaster in the Philippines in terms of volume," Sarmiento said.
He stressed the urgent need for the government to address the prevalent problems resulting from non-compliance of mining companies with environmental laws in all stages of their operations.