Suspension of Aussie mining firm’s operation sought

By Manny Galvez
Suspension of Aussie mining firm’s operation sought

SAN JOSE CITY – The provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya has sought the suspension of the operation of an Australian mining company for allegedly being destructive to the environment.

Gov. Carlos Padilla called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to withdraw the exploration permit and suspend the operation of the Oceana Gold Corp. Philippines Inc. (OGPI) in Barangay Dipidio, Kasibu town.

The mining firm’s operation has reportedly put at risk some 300,000 hectares of agricultural lands irrigated by six dams in North Luzon.

In a letter to DENR Secretary Gina Lopez, Padilla cited several reasons why the provincial government is opposing OGPI’s operation.

He said the province is a critical watershed of major dams such as Ambuklao, Binga, Casecnan, Magat, Pantabangan and San Roque, which irrigate at least 286,920 hectares of agricultural lands in Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon.

Padilla said OGPI’s operation affects these dams and the province’s vision to become a watershed haven and its promotion as an agro-forestry area and eco-tourism site.

In a dialogue last July 20, Padilla said Lopez assured him, the anti-mining advocates and leaders of indigenous groups in Dipidio that if OGPI’s supposed violations are proven, she would recommend to President Duterte to terminate the firm’s operations.     

He said a majority of Vizcayanos is against mining because it disrupts their way of life and destroys their environment and their source of livelihood.

He said the province has a brighter future in agriculture than in mining.