May report pala na kung ano ang sikretong naganap sa Masinloc, Zambales ay siya ring nangyari sa mga lalawigan ng Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Zamboanga at Eastern Samar at iba pang bahagi ng Pilipinas na kung saan ang mga lupa at panambak na galing sa mga bundok ay hinakot papuntang China. Saan pa kaya may ganitong nagaganap?
by Patrick Roxas, InterAksyon
SANTA CRUZ, Zambales: Mining activists claimed that the volume of mountain soil in this town that was lost and transported out of the country by mining firms may have reached 66.64 million dry metric tons over the last eight years, destroying farmlands, river and roads and causing asthma and other pulmonary diseases to the residents.
The alleged destruction brought about by massive operations by these mining firms supposedly has been documented by affected residents.
Benito Molino, chairman of Concerned Citizens of Zambales, said since 2008, four mining companies have been given extraction permits and allowed by the government to haul a maximum of 8.5 million dry metric tons of nickel or 170 shiploads every year.
These mining firms – Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines Inc. (BNMI), Zambales Diversified Metals Inc. (ZDMC), LnL Archipelago Minerals Inc. (LAMI) and Eramen Minerals Inc. (EMI) – are operating in the northernmost towns of Santa Cruz and Candelaria.
Molino said of the haul, only 3.4 shiploads are nickel and 166.6 are mountain soil.
“The grade of nickel laterite hauled from the mountains of Santa Cruz amounts to 1.5-2 percent while the soil is 98-98.5 percent,” he told The Manila Times.
Molino said based on permits given by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the total maximum haul per year is 8.5 million tons—BNMI, 3 million; ZDMC, 3 million; LAMI, 1 million; and EMI, 1.5 million.
But he speculated that the same thing could have happened to the nickel ore-laden soil from the mountains of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Zamboanga, Eastern Samar and other parts of the country that were reportedly transported to China.
Zambales Gov. Amor Deloso earlier told The Manila Times about Chinese military presence in a reclaimed area near the Scarborough Shoal.
“The Chinese military is based at an airport built by China at the reclaimed area near the Scarborough Shoal, which was built out of the mountain soil of Santa Cruz,” Deloso said.
The shoal is 85 kilometers from the town of Santa Cruz and some 65 kilometers from the town of Masinloc.