By Jonas Reyes
Iba, Zambales – Governor Amor Deloso warned mining firms in the province that only exisiting mineral stockpiles can be hauled and that new mining activities are prohibited.
Deloso conducted a surprise visit in the municipality of Santa Cruz and discussed mining matters and issues with local residents and stakeholders.
Deloso issued the warning in the wake of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) issuance of a permit to large scale mining firms to haule their nickel stoxkpile.
The governor said the mining firms are prohibited from digging or mining in their areas.
“They need to follow the directive that only old stockpiles are to be hauled down as this is posing danger to the homes of the residents especially when nickel stockpile goes down during heavy rains,” he said.
“The permit only allows stockpiling and their Ore Transport Permit (OTP) doesn’t say to dig again,” Deloso stressed.
Meanwhile, residents of the province that are affected by the mining operations have joined anti-mining protesters camping in front of the DENR head office in Quezon City.
The residents are calling for the end of open-pit mining.
The residents brought along samples of stunted rice plants that are heavily affected by the nickel pollution in Santa Cruz.
The residents joined anti-mining activists from Eastern Samar.
According to Concerned Citizens of Santa Cruz (CCOS) president Dr. Benito Molino, the stunted rice plants will be offered as ‘gifts’ to DENR officials.
The protesters are composed of activists from CCOS, Zambales North Payao Association, Guinabon Organic Farmers Association, Bangan Malabayo Fisherfolks Association and the Fight for the Next Generation group.