Mining operations result in gross environmental damage
While mining operations continue, the subsidence area is leveled off daily, lest it creates a crater that will cause irreversible damage underground. This entails a massive quarrying of the adjoining mountains to backfill the block barred down in the course of ore extraction underground.
Raymundo Tindaan, another leader who used to work inside the mines, explained that the company through the years tried to negotiate settlements on compensation for damaged properties and improvements with affected communities, but lately it identified a buffer zone, which it claimed would not be touched by the operations.
“Ngem ti pudno, uray idiay ruar ti 50-meter allowance, adu ti crack ti daga” (But the truth is, even outside of the 50-meter buffer allowance, there are many cracks on the earth), Tindaan said.
Aside from damaged property, the people also noted a drastic depletion of their water sources.
“Sulsultupenda ti danum ta ipanda iti mill a pang-arasaw ti naba” (The company siphons water for use in the mill to wash ore) Tindaan continued. He added that Alang water is not enough that the company even accessed the water at Brgy. Sta. Fe in Ampucao and directed it through a tunnel to its mining site.
The community estimated that the damaged area, now referred to as an open pit, now measures about 100 hectares.
Santos Mero, deputy secretary-general of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) said mining is President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s top priority. “With the government hell-bent on attracting foreign investments into the mining industry, expect more human rights violations against several other mining communities especially when indigenous peoples start to defend their rights,” Mero said. “What more with the implementation of the Human Security Act?” Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat