Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez, citing environmental anxieties, has told Nickel Asia Corporation to stop shipping nickel ore stockpiles from the island of Manicani, Guiuan in Eastern Samar.
The 1.4 million tons of nickel ore on Manicani island “must be returned to the soil” to prevent further environmental degradation as part of excessive soil extraction according to Lopez during the FINEX forum in Makati City.
“In our audit, they are taking too much soil. They are taking the soil out and it goes to China. We are suspending the retrieving of the stockpiles, to address the ecological balance,” Lopez was quoted saying in a report.
Hinatuan Mining Corp., the subsidiary of Nickel Asia, was given a directive by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to remove stockpiles that was collected during the mining operations.
HMC maintains that it is not anymore operating in the area but remove the stockpiles in the island. “It is the right thing to do,” NAC said in a report.
“NAC have stressed to Secretary Lopez that the removal of the stockpiles is the right thing to do from an environmental perspective, as it will do away with any potential environmental impacts that such stockpiles might pose, while at the same time providing badly needed employment and tax revenues.
It further argues that the DENR-MGB has not yet ordered them to stop the removal of stockpiles.
Local residents however complain that they were not consulted on the MGB directive to remove the stockpiles in their island.
A local group, Save Manicani Movement, has set up barricades in the side-line just to put to a halt any attempt to haul the pile of ore.
SMM continue to cry foul over the actions of DENR and MGB ‘s apparent support to mining companies and subsequently demand justice for the destructions mining operations have caused. (Bryan Azura)