For transparency purposes, representatives from Ampucao, Itogon will be added as part of the monitoring team that will ensure compliance by the Itogon-Suyoc Resources Inc. (ISRI) with the responsible mining program of the government.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera investigation team reported the office will train and capacitate the barangay and other sectoral representatives as part of the multi-partite monitoring team that will continuously inspect and monitor the underground working operations of the company.
This was agreed upon by the joint inspection team composed of the MGB-CAR, technical staff of ISRI, representatives from the four communities of Ampucao, and a representative from Itogon local government, which inspected the underground mines of ISRI on April 13.
Inspection was done in response to the request of residents of Dalicno, Camp Lolita, Tanke, and Simpa over alleged unauthorized and illegal use of machines in ISRI’s underground mines. The residents fear the company’s mechanized operation might cause the collapse of the whole mountain in the future.
In MGB-CAR’s report, it stated the complainants have misconstrued ISRI’s mechanized mining operations.
“Apparently, the small-scale mining groups correlated the use of load-haul-dump units with block caving mining methods employed by the Philex Mining Corporation in Padcal, Itogon and Tuba, Benguet,” the report stated.
The investigation team also noted the mechanized mining operation of ISRI is part of its approved three-year development and utilization work program.
During the inspection, ISRI also presented the 3D mine model map to the community representatives indicating its current mining operations are confined inside its patented mining claims, which are far from the built-up areas and the complaint areas observed with ground movements.
A copy of ISRI’s work program will be furnished to the residents for their information.
MGB-CAR also recommended for ISRI to enhance its information education campaign program with the community to maintain transparency and pursue its commitment to include the underground inspections during the regular monitoring.
Lawyer Jerry Marave, counsel of the residents, said they will review the company’s work program and the MGB report.
“We will convene with the community representatives and will push for their involvement in the multipartite monitoring team as observers to allay their fears,” Marave said.
ISRI Assistant Vice President for LGU and Compliance Mike Tauli said the company is open for continuous dialogues with the community.
“The company is very much open for more dialogues, as we are not hiding anything and we want to be as transparent with our operations,” Tauli said. – Ofelia C. Empian