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DENR orders APMC to halt transport of nickel ore, causeway ops in Sibuyan

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
DENR orders APMC to halt transport of nickel ore, causeway ops in Sibuyan
Photo shows a barricade set up by residents of Sibuyan Island in Romblon.
Alyansa Tigil Mina, Twitter release

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered the mining company whose operations are being opposed by the residents of Sibuyan Island to stop the construction of a causeway and the transportation of nickel ore.

In a joint order, the regional directors of DENR MIMAROPA, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and the Environmental Management Bureau ordered Altai Philippines Mining Corporation to cease and desist from the construction and operations of its causeway in San Fernando town “as a precautionary measure against potential irreparable damage to the environment.”

A copy of the order signed on Monday was provided by anti-mining group Alyansa Tigil Mina.

APMC was found to be constructing a causeway without an approved lease agreement and environmental compliance certificate.

The DENR also suspended the ore transport permit issued to APMC and ordered the mining firm to stop transporting nickel ore from the contract site to the causeway. The company’s application for miscellaneous lease agreement was also denied for violating the Public Land Act.

Residents of Sibuyan Island formed a human wall to stop APMC’s trucks carrying nickel ore from leaving the island. Last Friday, the local police broke up the barricade, allowing the trucks to pass through and hurting two people in the process.

The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources of Romblon was tasked to conduct an investigation into the potential damage to seagrass and marine resources, and file appropriate legal actions, if warranted, on the reported cutting of trees without permit.

APMC on Monday said it was stopping its exploration and testing activities on Sibuyan Island. The firm added it will cooperate and coordinate with authorities to address concerns.

Small victory for Sibuyanons

“This is just one of the fruits of the barricade with the tireless and unselfish people who have been joining and supporting us for the last 14 days,” environmentalist Rodne Galicha said.

He added that while the residents appreciate the action of the DENR, they will not leave the barricade until the firm’s exploration permit and mineral production sharing agreement are revoked.

Elizabeth Ibañez, coordinator of Sibuyanons Against Mining, also said that if the environment department is really serious about protecting the rights and respecting the will of Sibuyanons, it should revoke the permits issued to APMC.

Two sizable parcels of land in Barangays Barangays España and Taclobo in San Fernando town are slated to be mined by the APMC under the MPSA, according to the Project Description for Scoping (PDS) that the firm filed to the DENR

Residents fear that mining activities, if allowed to continue, will damage Sibuyan’s intact forests, including the Mt. Guiting Guiting Natural Park, and river systems. 

READSibuyan folk fear nickel mining will destroy 'Galapagos of Asia'

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

SIBUYAN ISLAND

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