DENR suspends mining operation in Davao due to river discoloration

January 25, 2022 Joel dela Torre 150 views

ENVIRONMENT Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered the suspension of a mining company’s operations in Davao Oriental province following reports that a river in the area has turned red due to their extraction activities.

Cimatu immediately instructed the concerned regional office after receiving information about the heavy siltation of Mapagba and Pinatatagan rivers in Banaybanay town, which was noticed last January 14.

“I have received the report on January 17 confirming that the river has turned red due to extraction activities. I have instructed our regional office to immediately address the incident and to suspend the operations of the mining company,” Cimatu said during the DENR’s Expanded Executive Committee Conference on January 18.

Based on the initial investigation and assessment of DENR-Davao Region, together with the region’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau and Environmental Management Bureau, the siltation and discoloration of the Mapagba and Pinatatagan rivers were attributed to the extraction activity of Riverbend Consolidated Mining Corporation/Arc Nickel Resources, Inc.

“Heavy and continuous rains last January 13 and 14 have pushed overburden materials which contributed to the overflowing of the silt pond, draining towards the said rivers,” the report read.

On January 17, the DENR-Davao Region issued a cease and desist order (CDO), notice of violation, and show cause order to the mining company.

“I directed for the issuance of cease and desist order, suspension of that mining company, conduct of immediate investigation, and submission of investigation to PAB or Pollution Adjudication Board,” Cimatu said.

The suspension, according to the DENR chief, would prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future.

“This is for them to face the consequences immediately. If they will be suspended, so be it. If there is a penalty, or combination of the two, then better–to avoid this from happening again,” Cimatu said.