DENR to consider Guimaras objections to mining
By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Visayas Bureau
First Posted 19:01:00 08/19/2008

JORDAN, Guimaras — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has assured Guimaras officials and residents that it would consider their objections in evaluating applications for mining exploration on the island.

Lormelyn Claudio, DENR regional executive director, said on Monday the opposition of Guimaras officials to mining would be a factor in the approval or disapproval of at least four applications for mining on the 60,000-hectare island.

“If the local government is against it, we have to consider that,” Claudio said in a press conference here at the launching of the Guimaras Integrated Coastal Management Program.
Claudio said the opposition to mining in the province has also been upheld by the Regional Development Council of Western Visayas.

Under current rules, mining applications do not need approval or endorsement of the local government units.

The province, still recovering from a massive oil spill that ravaged the island in 2006, has stepped up its campaign against mining applications. Guimaras Governor Felipe Nava said in the same press conference that an information campaign on the effects of mining has been started by anti-mining advocates in the villages of the province’s five municipalities.

The provincial government earlier displayed stickers and banners emblazoned with “Spare Guimaras” to highlight their call not to allow mining on the island. Nava said that pending applications for mining would cover around 65 percent of the province, including watershed areas. The 1,143-hectare Taklong Island National Marine Reserve (Tinmar) is also part of the area covered by the applications. The marine reserve is located in Nueva Valencia, the hardest hit of the province’s five towns.

“We ask government to spare us. Guimaras is a small province and mining would destroy us,” said Nava. The people of Guimaras voiced out their opposition to the mining exploration application of Fil-Asian Strategic Resources and Properties Corp. (FASRPC).
The (FASRPC), a subsidiary of the Australia-based Rusina Mining NL, plans to conduct exploration for gold and copper deposits in a 2,400-hectare area covering nine of the 20 villages of Nueva Valencia.

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