By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — Fourty-nine percent or 196,094 hectares from Abra’s total land area of 397,555 hectares is covered by mining applications of local and large mining corporations.
Based on the data from the regional office of the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB-DENR-CAR), the area could even be bigger as three Exploration Permit Applications (EPA) and two Financial and Technical Assistance Applications (FTAA) covered Abra and the nearby provinces of the Cordillera Adminstrative Region and Region 1. These applications are not included in the 196,094 hectares covered by applications that are entirely within Abra.
From the said mining applications in Abra, 82.65 percent are covered by Exploration Permits, 8.89 percent for FTAA, and 8.44 percent for Mineral Production Sharing Applications (MPSA). The applications cover all the 27 towns of Abra where most of the applicants are corporations, both foreign and local, and few individuals.
Three MPSA applications are approved and registered, the MGB-CAR data stated. The Jabel Corporation owned the two applications which cover the town of Baay-Licuan with a combined hectares of 1,051 hectares while the Abra Mining and Industrial Corp. had the single application which cover 673 hectares.
From the MGB-CAR data, three applications from three mining companies with 14,997 hectares were rejected while three FTAA applications from two corporations with a total covered hectares of 160,839 hectares were withdrawn by the aplicants.
Most of the listed minerals targetted by the mining applicants are gold and copper.
The 196,094 hectares covered by the applications in Abra is almost 18 percent from the 1,111,995.4351 hectares total mining applications in the Cordillera region.
Mine applications in Cordillera
Meanwhile, the total mine applications in the region which is 1,111,995.4351 hectares is almost 61 percent of the region’s land area of 1,829,368 hectares.
The MGB-CAR data show that the mine applications in the region are distributed as follows: 6.89 percent MPSA, 27.21 percent EPA, 65.38 percent FTAA, and the other remaining for sand and gravel, among others. The approved applications, according to the data, merely cover 26,507.67 while those under process covers 1,085,486.7615.
In the national level, the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamayan ng Pilipinas cited that MGB data where more than 1,046,349 hectares of lands in the country are covered by mining interests.
Eighty-four percent or 880,653 hectares of these (1,046,349 hecatres) are located in the ancestral domains of indigenous peoples.
MGBs mine applications’ cleansing
National media also reported that MGBfs Leo Jasareno claimed that they had rejected 1,150 applications which is 53 percent of the 2,180 pending applications at the end of February 2011. Jasareno claimed that their move is to reform the industry.
The MGB “cleansing” on the mine applications is criticized by indigenous and environmental groups as a move to facilitate the exploitation of the natural resources.
As the present mining law is exploitative, the KAMP support the people’s mining bill where mining should ensure the benefit the Filipino people, including the indigenous peoples, Pia Malayao said. # nordis.net