By ALDWIN QUITASOL
MANKAYAN, Benguet — Residents of Barangay Colalo of this mining town are opposing the entry of a Carbon in Pulp (CIP) company owned by a Chinese national Robbie Tan saying that it will bring more destruction to their already mining ravaged land and source of livelihood.
In the definition posted in the www. Scribd.com, CIP is a recovery process where gold ore, free carbon particles and cyanide are mixed together. The mixture then will be passed counter current through a series of tanks containing activated carbon particles. The carbon will absorb the gold as it passes through the circuit. The gold-loaded carbon is removed from the slurry by screening and stripped in a caustic cyanide solution under heat and pressure prior to the recovery of the gold by electrolysis or by zinc precipitation. The carbon is treated for re-use.
Cyanide is known for being a highly toxic chemical for industrial use.
According to Colalo Barangay Councilor Janet Mayangao, the residents were never informed about the CIP company. They only came to know of it when the construction of the facility started sometime in May. They registered their opposition to the CIP company to their Barangay Captain but the construction continued she revealed.
Mayangao said that the CIP company will get the gold ore to be processed from small scale mines in nearby area of Suyoc. She added that once the ore processing plant will operate, the water source will be contaminated and the air will be polluted by the chemical wastes of the company.
She disclosed that on July 23, personnel from the National Commission on Indigenous People – Cordillera Administrative Region (NCIP-CAR) came to Colalo for an investigation. She found out from the NCIP that the company has already completed pertinent documents even without the conduct of a Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
The NCIP staff told Mayangao that they will submit their reports to their agency head.
“Saan pay la garuden nga inak-aksepteptar ti Lepanto Mines ti basol na idiay nakadadaelan ti eskuwelaan ti uubbing ditoy ayan mi nga nakatayan pay ti maysa a kailyan mi ket adda manen daytoy maysa a kompanya a makadadael,” (While Lepanto Mines refuses to take responsibility over the destruction of our school where one of our village mate was killed yet another destructive company comes) said Mayangao.
Mayangao narrated that on July 26, 1999, a large portion of Colalo proper sunk and was eroded heavily damaging the elementary school, four houses and a part of the Barangay Road. Colalo resident Pablo Gomez, who was helping in the evacuation of school properties was buried alive and his body was never found. She said that four days before the incident, they already observed large cracks above the quarry site of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC) for its mine tailings dam 5A at Colalo Proper. The day before the tragedy, she continued, they started to evacuate. # nordis.net