BY ROGER M. BALANZA
An anti-mining ordinance has made Davao City a ‘no man’s land’ for mining companies which are forced to go to Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley for large-scale mining projects.
The Davao City Council has approved an ordinance banning mining of all kinds of minerals except non-metallic minerals.
The ordinance sounded off the strong anti-mining posturing of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and former Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Dabawenyos and environmentalists hailed the measure even as the mining industry said it would contest the legality of the ordinance in the Supreme Court.
The ordinance clashes head-on with the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 which does not totally ban mining.
Mayor Duterte said he is aware of the mining act prevailing over local legislation but vowed to defend the anti-mining ordinance to protect his people and the environment.
President Benigno Aquino has issued Executive Order No.79 that sets new policies on mining that includes muscling down opposition to mining by local government units.
The Aquino EO has authorized government agencies like the Department of environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) to identify areas throughout the country that have mineral reserves that could be opened up to investors.
Earlier years ago, the MGB admitted several multi-national companies have applied for exploration permit in large areas of Paquibato and Marilog, said to be rich in mineral resources.
But the anti-mining sentiment in Davao City and the presence of the the leftist New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas in the far-flung hinterland districts cooled down the investors’ interests.
The anti-mining ordinance approved by the City Council this year is a sharp-fanged measure that gave the local legislative power to deny endorsement to any mining application.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Davao Region said there are 13 new mining applications for exploration which it has submitted for action to the MGB central office in Manila.
The applications are pending approval, said Edilberto Arreza, MGB Davao Region director, in the June 8 edition of the “Kapehan sa Dabaw” media forum in Davao City.
Arreza said an exploration permit has a lifespan of 8 years.
The applications for exploration permit in the MGB Davao regional office cover about 56,000 hectares.
None of the mining areas applied for permit is located in Davao City except for HolcimPhils. Inc./Davao Union Cement Corp. which applied for permit to mine silica in about 500 hectares in Biao, Tugbok district.
The giant Swiss-owned Holcim with a plant in Ilang, Bunawan district has more than 3000 hectares in Bunawan district where it had been mining for silica and limestore, the major components in cement manufacture, for more than 30 years. Silica ang limestone are classified as non-metallic minerals.
With deposit in Bunawan nearing depletion, Holcim is expanding to Tugbok and the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) in Davao del Norte with its pplication to mine limestone in Tambo and San Isidro in Babak covering about 1,000 hectares.
Records of the MGB identified the mining companies seeking exploration permits in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, the Davao Region’s ”Mineral Corridor,’ as:
* Aromac Mineral Corp. in Ngan, Compostela, Comval with an area of 243 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Ramonsito B. Uy in Calapagan, Lupon, Davao Oriental with an area of 648 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Batoto Resources Corp. in Camanlangan, New Bataan.Comval with an area of 678.29 hectares for gold amd other minerals.
* Joseph P. Saucejo in Kingking, Pantukan,Comval for silica.
* Loyalty Mining & Dev’t. Corp. in Governor Gereroso, Davao Oriental with an area of 567 hectares for chromite.
* Southern Horizon Mining Corp. in Calapagan, Mati, Davao Oriental with an area of 8,061.35 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Southern Horizon Mining Corp. in Ayan and Boringot, Pantukan, Comval with an area of 8,100 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Oro East Mining Co. Inc. in Pantukan, Comval with an area of 8,100 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Eastern Horizon Mining Co., Inc. in Guadan and Manurigao, Maragusan, Comval with an area of 8,100.00 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Zetoza Mineral Res. Corp. in Pantukan, Comval and Lupon, Davao Oriental with an area of 1,134 hectares for copper, G
gold and other minerals.
* Jake Mining Corporation in Madagasang, Maragusan, Comval with an area of 8,100 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Mina del Oriente Inc. in Ngan, Nabok, Comval with an area of 10,206 hectares formerly held by Apex Mining Co. Inc. for gold and other minerals.