DAVAO CITY — Environmental Secretary Regina Lopez announced that the DENR has suspended on Thursday, August 4 the Claver Mineral Development Corporation in Claver, Surigao del Norte.
“Today, we are suspending Claver Minerals,” Lopez said in a press conference on Thursday, August 4 at the Ateneo De Davao University where she attended the Mindanao Environment Summit.
Claver Mineral Development Corporation is a nickel mining company in Barangay Cagdianao, Claver town, Surigao del Norte province.
In its website, the company said it is a “responsible mining company that set and uphold the highest ethical standards and business practices, focusing towards local community development and maintaining environmental and ecological balance.”
But Lopez described the mining company as “really bad.”
It is the seventh mining firm suspended by the DENR since Lopez assumed the Cabinet post. The other firms that were suspended include Benguet Corp Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc., Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., Citinickel Mines and Development Corp., Berong Nickel Corp., and Claver Mineral Development Corp.
Lopez also said that they are auditing three mining firms including the Greenstone Resources Mining Corporation Inc in Surigao del Norte, Taganito Mining Corporation, also in Claver town, and SRMI Metal in Tubay, Agusan del Norte.
She said the audit is “not just technical”.
“The audit is also social, kung may komunidad na nagdudusa diyan, hindi pwede yan. Kung nagkakasakit sila hindi pwede yan (If there is a community suffering, that’s prohibited. If the community is getting sick, that will also be prohibited),” she said.
Lopez added that they are testing the water and the agriculture in the community and if the mining firms fail, it means “they’re not following the law.”
Engr. Leo Jasareno, the former head of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and who now heads the current mining audit team of the DENR, said the audit “will be the basis for final judgement, if we allow or not the (mining) operations.”
“We will wait for the audit. It’s a comprehensive study that would finally give us an informed decision on how to decide on the mines,” he said.
Meanwhile, as her “personal commitment”, Lopez said mining firms that will not pass the audit will be immediately prohibited to operate.
“This is my personal commitment, all those that don’t pass the audit, I won’t even wait one hour. It’s finished, it’s over. For me justice delayed is justice denied,” she said.
Lopez said they will finish the audit of the mines in Mindanao by next week.
The DENR will also evaluate the Environmental Compliance Certificate given to mining firms.
“Is it okay to give them the ECCs? We’re going to evaluate everything,” she said. (davaotoday.com)