December 26, 2010 in Uncategorized
By ALMA SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The committee on Environment and Mining of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) in their session, December 20 requested the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to furnish them with all documents pertaining to the mining exploration permit application of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation in the Province.
It will be recalled that on November 24 this year, the SP recieved a letter from Pablito Ong, the consultant of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporations transmitting the company’s exploration permit application (EXPA-069-CAR) located in the municipalities of Atok, Bakun, Kapangan, Mankayan, Buguias and Kibungan. In their two-year exploration work program, it was stated that the exploration covers a total land area of 3,693 hectares.
The exploration project according to the company’s environmental work program (EMP) states that it is primarily exploration in nature and is aimed at the evaluation of Copper, Gold and associated metal resources. Moreover, it also aims for possitive results that could mean further development, expoitation and utilization of the metal resource.
The committee on Environment and Mining stipulated in their report that the SP has no power to intervene in the exploration, development and utilization of all mineral resources owned by the state. And, that the DENR is the primary agency responsible for the said issue.
However, the SP according to the committee may intervene to determine compliance with the requisites laid down by the Republic Act 8371 also known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). This is specifically on the process of the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) of the Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the affected communities before the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) issue the company’s exploration permit.
Likewise, the committee requested the municipalities concerned to comment on the issue.
On the other hand, it is stipulated in their EMP that the application is divided into three parcels. The 1st parcel is within the municipality of Bakun, the 2nd is located within the municipalities of Kibungan, Kapangan and Atok and the third is within the municipalities of Buguias and Mankayan.
Furthermore, the land applied for is classified as forest land but large tracts of the area are now used for vegetable farming and small scale mining as reported over the years. Also, rice terraces are common specially in parcel 3.
In their EMP, it is also stated that exploration activities like geological mapping and sampling, test pitting/trenching and drilling will have adverse environmental effects like, though minor, surface disturbance, loss of vegetation, siltation and erosion, water and soil contamination, acid mine drainage, and loss of fauna due to the noise.
However, it was also stipulated that these will be mitigated through minimizing the removal of shrubs and bushes, restoring and revegetating areas affected by the transport materials, selecting the less vegetated areas for test pits and providing proper drain channels and siltation traps.
The two-year exploration work program will cost P25,000,000.00 and their EMP will cost the company, P2,500,000.00. The amounts stated do not include labor costs. #nordis.net