Black Propaganda Targets Canadian Mining Firm In South RP

August 19, 2007 at 6:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Yulo Perez, TVIRD vice president for Philippine operations, gestures as he explains to reporters the safety of mine tailing dams on Mount Canatuan in Siocon town in southern Philippines as shown in the map. Anti-mining activists have spread rumors of a sulphide dam collapsing under heavy rains and spilling toxic chemicals in rivers and creeks. Filipino authorities say the reports were false. Nelson says heavy rains washed away red soil and that the dam is still under construction. Some 400 natives in the area called Subanon are working for TVIRD, but many who were not hired accused the Canadian mining firm of polluting the environment, an allegation denied both by the TVIRD and the Philippine government. And Jay Nelson, TVIRD vice president for environment and civil works, gestures as he explains to Zamboange del Norte provincial board members, led by lawyer Felixberto Bolando, the safety of mine tailing dams on Mount Canatuan in Siocon town in southern Philippines, where the heart of the TVIRD operation is located. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)


ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 19 Aug) – Provincial government officials inspected a Canadian gold mine area after anti-mining activists spread news that a dam had collapsed and spread toxic chemicals in rivers and creeks in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga del Norte.

The reports said the sulphide dam, one of two operated by the TVI Resource Development Inc., in Mount Canatuan in Siocon town collapsed after days of heavy rains. The reports were false.

“There is no (dam) collapse really, but erosion of the red soil due to rains,” a provincial lawmaker Felixberto Bolando, chairman of the committee on natural resources and environment protection, told the Mindanao Examiner.

“There is no issue of toxic waste spill at all. The sulphide dam is not yet being used by the company,” he said.

Bolando said the reports had no legal basis since no one among those who complained had signed an affidavit to back up their claims. “We urged those who have other complaints to properly file your affidavits and have them duly notarized before submitting them to us,” he said.

Rocky Dimaculangan, TVIRD’s public affairs chief, told reporters that the rains washed away red oil to the rivers. “Soil has washed away by heavy rains and it is common in the area. There is no truth to the reports that one of our dams had collapsed because we have one of the safest structures that can withstand even an earthquake of 8.5 in the Richter scale.”

“We follow a strict environment safety compliance that is world-class standards and our area is being inspected regularly by government environment people,” he said.

Bolando together with three other officials – Aniceto Darunday, Edgar Baguio and Cedric Adriatico — inspected the site Saturday and later presided over a public hearing in the town’s Jose Rizal Memorial College.

Darunday said they were satisfied with the ocular inspection and that the public hearing is in aid of legislation. “We have to really listen to all sides here and find out the truth,” he said.

Jay Nelson, TVIRD vice president for environment and civil works, and Magi Bagayao, the firm’s Canatuan general manager, demonstrated to the provincial officials the structural integrity of both the gossan dam, currently being used to impound gold and silver tailings, as well as the sulphide dam now being constructed to contain tailings of copper and zinc concentrates that TVIRD will produce next year.

”The design criteria used for both dams were based on Philippine standards and regulations as well as various operations and engineering criteria used in North America, and in fact the detailed design and construction supervision have been provided by top international firms,” Nelson said.

Bagayao, for his part, sought to disprove rumors that there are secret outlets orundeclared exits in the gossan dam intended to be used during heavy rainfallto prevent the overflowing of waste tailings or the collapse of the dam. ”These persistent rumors are just silly,” Bagayao told reporters here.

Adriatico, who was former priest, said his group conducted the probe because of reports the dam had collapsed.

“There were reports about this so we have to do our jobs and inspect the (TVIRD) facility and hold public hearing. We will also conduct a committee hearing before we can come out with a recommendation,” he said.

The gossan dam has a capacity of about one million tons of mine tailings, while the sulphide dam hold a capacity of up to 7 years of continuous operation, said Yulo Perez, TVIRD’s vice president for Philippine operations.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau earlier inspected the mining site, situated inside a 500-hectare area, and said there was no truth to the reports that the sulphide dam collapsed.

TVI invested nearly $48 million for the construction of the gossan and sulphide dams, both considered as the safest in the southern Philippines. Gossan dam is used to contain the mine tailings from gold and silver ores and the sulphide dam for the copper and zinc tailings.

The TVI project in Mount Canatuan employs more than 700 people and about 60 percent of them are natives belonging to the Subanon tribe. It has paid over P50 million in government taxes and built roads and schools and clinics in the area since it started operation in 2004.

Pro-mining advocates and local tribesmen have blamed anti-mining activists, backed by a few Catholic priests opposed to TVIRD, as behind the false reports allegedly to get funding from international anti-mining groups in Canada.

Some activists are also members of militants groups with links to communist insurgents, who are active in the province. (Mindanao Examiner)


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  1. […] banana planters. Elsewhere in Mindanao, anti-mining activists are accused of spreading rumors against a Zamboanga del Norte […]

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