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MGB Lifts Zambales Mining Ban

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region III office has temporarily lifted the suspension order on three nickel mining firms in Zambales which were found violating environmental regulations last year.

MGB Region III suspended the operations of LnL Archipelago Minerals Inc., BenguetCorp. Nickel Mines Inc., and Eramen Minerals Inc. last July 25 after the board discovered that the three mining firms’ operations caused siltation in waterways and nearby farm lots.

Several investigations found that the companies had been practicing an unsystematic strip mining method that leads to inefficient recovery of minerals and causes adverse environmental impacts like siltation in bodies of water and generation of dust.

MGB ordered the mining firms to adhere to environmental rules and regulations by removing all stand-by stockpiles in open cut areas and store these in designated stockpile areas equipped with proper drainage systems.

The bureau also required the mining firms to implement systematic mining methods such as the observance of proper benching and bench slope stabilization and to rehabilitate inactive mining areas.

For strict environmental compliance, the mining firms were also instructed to build a mining road, fix damaged coastal areas, conduct sediment flux monitoring, and fully rehabilitate affected river systems.

MGB also ordered the companies to pay an aggregate of P3.2 million to recompense farmers and fishpond owners whose farm lands and fishponds were damaged.

Besides these, the bureau also required the mining firms to submit periodic reports on the progress of the above cited implementations.

“The involved mining companies were also required to submit periodic reports on the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations,” the MGB said.