23 unregistered ball mills to be dismantled: official

The Philippine Mining Development Corp. (PMDC) will dismantle the 23 unregistered ball mills in Mt. Diwata, Compostela Valley as they also allegedly were using toxic chemicals.

Lawyer Alberto M. Sipaco, president and chief executive officer of PMDC, said on Monday’s weekly Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao-Annex that the agency “will demolish those (ball mills) with the assistance of the police and military.”

The ball mills, he said, will be transferred to Brgy. Mabatas in Monkayo, Compostela Valley.

Based on Proclamation No. 297 dated Nov. 15, 2002, Sipaco said they are directed to monitor and oversee the implementation of mining and mineral operations of the Diwalwal Mineral Reservation Area.

“The unrelenting small-scale mining has caused mercury pollution and siltation of Naboc River waterways and downstream farmlands up to Agusan provinces,” Sipaco said. “This has to stop immediately,” he added.

During the meeting of the Program Monitoring and Coordination Center (PMCC) Project-Diwalwal in August last year, one of the issues raised was the need to direct the environment task group to assess and evaluate the Mabatas tailings disposal system, come up with a detailed plan of the mineral processing zone and establish timeline of the operationalization of Mabatas tailing pond.

Participating in the PMCC meeting were the PMDC, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Environmental Management Bureau, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Compostela Valley government and other government agencies.

The PMDC also bared interest to convert the 8,100 hectare-Diwalwal mineral reservation area into a mineral industry zone. Of the total land area, 150 hectares would be set aside for gold refinery and gold processing plants.

The project came about after the PMDC signed an agreement with Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to convert the PMDC mining areas into to mineral processing industry zone. Both agencies signed the area in October last year.

This included the Diwalwal mineral reservation area.

“All the PMDC properties will be declared mineral processing industry zone so we will be inviting investors who will put up mineral processing plants,” PEZA director general Charito Plaza said earlier in a news report. (KMF)

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