Eight mining firms are under hot water as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are investigating alleged violations they committed, secretary Gina Lopez said on Monday.
Lopez named the firms following her dialogue with the Lumads in Mindanao on Sunday.
“I met with them and they wanted to stop large-scale mining in their provinces. And they were very explicit to the names [of the companies],” Lopez said.
TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. in Zamboanga Del Norte will be reviewed over “human rights violation causing demolition and forced evacuation.”
TVI denied the allegations and said the issue has been present since 2012, and that the firm is not driving out people.
“It was the provincial government that formed a multi-agency task force dismantling the illegal small-scale mining operations and not TVI,” TVI Director Kaycee Crisostomo said in a separate interview.
St. Augustine Gold & Copper Ltd. located in Compostela Valley is facing problems over militarization issues, while San Roque Metals Inc. is facing siltation and land grabbing complaints in Agusan del Norte.
Surigao del Norte-based firms Taganito Mining, Shenzhou Mining Corp. and the Tampakan project of Sagittarius Mines in South Cotabato were also named.
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) said that mining in southern Philippines has worsened, affecting several communities in the area.
“The situation in Mindanao is very much different, especially in CARAGA. It is where the most number of mining operations and applications are located,” ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera told The Philippine Star in an interview.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureu (MGB) imposed stricter audit standards on mining firms in an effort to end irresponsible mining. The audit will now look beyond social and economic impacts of mining operations.
“The comprehensive review will focus on the companies’ compliance with the requirements of the Mining Act of 1995, Environmental Compliance Certificate, Forestry Law, and other laws pertaining to mining. We want to see whether a specific violation will entail suspension of operations,” MGB director Leo Jasareno said.
After taking office, DENR Secretary Lopez issued an audit for all mining firms in the country and suspended four firms one week after. DENR is set to release the result of the audit by next month.