BAGUIO CITY November 19 – The Cordillera office of the Mines and Geosciences bureau (MGB-CAR) said that it was able to implement a massive cleansing of dormant mining applications regionwide in order to free some of the lands from applications that seem not to be operational and has no chance of being given due course because of the absence of social acceptability.
Engr. Fay W. Apil, MGB-CAR regional director, said most of the region’s mineral-rich lands had been covered by applications of various multinational companies over the past several decades but such applications never were given due course due to various problems.
“We were able to cleanse pending mining applications amidst the huge number of pending mining applications and we will continue to do so since numerous indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities have not been in favor of the conduct of explorations or mining activities in their respective villages,” Apil stressed.
Apil cited among the reasons for the cleansing of the existing mining applications regionwide was because the companies that have submitted their updates on the progress of what they had applied for, the officials of the companies that applied for can no longer be located or that the company has ceased operations and the absence of social acceptability from the host and neighboring communities to be affected by the proposed exploration or mining operations.
While it is true that there are mineralized areas in the different parts of the region, the MGB-CAR official underscored the importance for companies intending to explore and mine such resources to secure the free and prior informed consent of the affected indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities pursuant to the provisions of existing mining laws and other related regulations.
She claimed there are also other proponents which do not have the financial and technical capability to undertake exploration activities and full blast mining operations, thus, their applications were removed from the list of applicants available with the agency and to prevent the fear of host communities that their areas will be mined in the future.
Cordillerans have always been vigilant against exploration and possible mining operations because of previous bad experiences established by mining companies wherein the lands that were mined were simply left behind while the damages to properties were not properly compensated pursuant to previous agreements.
Apil pointed out the agency will continue conducting the cleansing of existing mining applications that are dormant in order to allow a new land use for the lands that have been long covered by mining explorations and financial and technical assistance agreements as well as mineral production sharing agreements for host communities to use the same for other productive and environmentally-friendly activities geared towards improving the economic situation in the countryside.
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