Monday, April 24, 2017

21 years after the mining disaster DENR plans to file case vs Marcopper

Today, April 24 is Gina Lopez' second visit to Marinduque in two weeks. After the DENR raised anew public concerns three months ago over the integrity of the old earth dams of Marcopper when leaks were found in an old and rotten secret diversion tunnel installed in the 1970s, the department has remained mum on what it intended to do in the face of an 'imminent danger' residents are faced with.

Last month's protest rally in Marinduque.

Meanwhile, refiling of the Marinduque class suit against Barrick Gold in Canada after the 10-year old case was dismissed by the court in Nevada on jurisdictional ground, remains an unresolved issue. This, even as the former US outside legal counsel accompanied by a lawyer from DENR-MGB purportedly sent by Lopez recently turned up at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in defense of the proposed MOA between the Provincial Government of Marinduque and the same US legal firm that handled the case in Nevada. 

Catholic prelates, environmental orgs, protest groups and the SP strongly rejected the said proposed MOA.

Now days before the CA decides on Lopez' confirmation comes a DENR 'plan' to sue Marcopper 21 years after the mining disaster?


DENR to file case vs Marcopper

By Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is planning for file a case against Marcopper Mining Corp. for the lingering effects of the disastrous 1996 spillage at its site in Marinduque, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said Monday.

This as she returned to abandoned mining sites in the province to ensure that her rehabilitation plans would push through whether her appointment is confirmed or not. 

The Commission on Appointments (CA) is set to decide on her confirmation on May 2.

During her visit, Lopez introduced government officials that affected residents should approach if they would need help in rehabilitating mined out areas. She also talked to a representative of Consolidated Minings Inc. to secure a pledge to rehabilitate the site.

The environment chief said the department would file a case against Marcopper, not only for the remaining ecological damage, but also for the remaining effects of the 1996 spillage on residents. 

Those affected include 78 children afflicted with brain damage. 

"What I'm gonna do as DENR secretary is to make sure that money is downloaded. I'm gonna issue show cause order. Seventy-eight children with brain disease, Diyos ko naman di ba?" said Lopez.

The 1996 Marcopper incident, where mine tailings from a drainage tunnel spilled into the Boac river, remains to be the worst mining disaster in the country. 

Lopez could not say what will happen at her scheduled confirmation hearing, as some members of the CA have family interest in mining. Lopez, who has initiated a fierce campaign against destructive mining practices, is up against opposition from the mining industry. 

She said she would lay down various policies and do whatever she can with the remaining time she has before the hearing. 

"So since we do not know what's gonna happen, and while I'm still cabinet secretary, I want the world to see what's happening so we can put a stop to it," said Lopez.

"It cannot stop because one person is out. No matter what happens, it should go on."


Lopez today in her second Marinduque visit in two weeks.

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