Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Acid mine drainage from Bol River... and Tapian Pit, too!

After rendezvous and feeling water's deceptive embrace in the blue river
and waterfall. Photo courtesy of Jhonny Pereda. 

More photos of local guys venturing into little known places in Marinduque have surfaced. One of those places being the blue river and waterfall in Brgy. Puting Buhangin. Water seeks its own level as they say, and this is really where Marcopper's Bol River Dam water has silently reached.


Diving into the blue. Photo: Jhonny Pereda

Isn't it so that this particular dam is one of five dams in the Marcopper mine site that has been identified to be in danger of collapsing? We know that one of these dams, the Maguila-guila Dam already collapsed in 1993, with the onslaught of a typhoon. 

That was initially denied by the mine company, also quick to deny that the floodwaters that came down into Mogpog River were polluted. That river never came back to life with the effects of acid mine drainage and is there for all to see with naked eyes to this day.

We know that another catastrophy occured in 1996 with some 84 million metric tons of tailings slurry flowing into the Makulapnit River, Boac River and into the sea. The plug in a secret 6-kilometer long drainage tunnel burst immediately killing the river and all biological life in it.

The drainage adit was then re-plugged only to prevent further discharge of tailings, the Boac River channel was dredged near its mouth to catch tailings that have been washed downstream and to reduce flooding in that area.


The sealed Tapian Pit drainage adit now. Photo by Luna "Pongkoy" Manrique

Then nothing. The Boac river was just left to cleanse herself of somebody else's sins. Fortunately there are uncontaminated streams or less contaminated ones that converge with this river.

Nothing since then, and after numerous typhoons hit the island, some very destructive, no effort was ever undertaken by anyone concerned to rehabilitate the earthen dams that are confirmed by scientists to be in danger of collapsing and are endangering people's lives.

Twenty years have passed since the spill disaster and the Boac River looks like it has been revivified.

But the truth is that the other clean and maybe less contaminated streams have just diluted and mixed with the AMD-contaminated Boac river. 

Studies have shown that copper precipitation in varying levels still occurs depending on which part of the river one wants to test and deceivingly highlight for whatever reason. Common sense dictates that this certainly occurs more extensively upriver with AMD obviously flowing freely and quietly from the blue Bol River and the infamous Tapian Pit.

Did I just say Tapian Pit? 

Further research reveals that there's a stream flowing with AMD from mine waste piles south of the Tapian Pit that is only diluted by waters from the upstream Makulapnit River! (see photo). So Tapian AMD from a hidden stream still flows into the Boac River, too!




How could we have known that and maybe many more things we still don't know as even local authorities are not allowed into the mine site by armed personnel? Well, that was BD (Before Duterte). Maybe the story would be different this time, right? So we could get into the bottom of these at last, after 20 years?

Also read:

Sec. Gina Lopez won't ignore what Marinduque guys took pictures of

Yes, acid mine drainage is flowing freely into the Boac River now; Please keep off those other blue rivers


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