At least fifty large-scale mining firms including the country’s biggest Philex Mining Corporation have applied for mineral exploration permits and mineral production agreements and been given favorable endorsements by local authorities this fiscal year raising fears among small scale mining tunnel operators and miners that sooner they would run out of areas to enter and mine in mineralized areas in Compostela Valley.
Sources said that some 50 large-scale mining entities have already asked and were given favorable endorsements by either the municipal governments concerned or the provincial government in their applications for Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) to the mines bureau.
“Basig magmata na lang ang mga gagmayng minero sa usa ka adlaw nga wala na diay silay area nga ma-tunnelan (The small scale miners might wake up one day having no area to make a tunnel),” said the source who asked not to be named.
He said that in the MPSA application of the large scale mining entities only “three out of four” requirements areneeded for their application to be acted upon favorably by the mines bureau.
The four listed requirements are the prior and free and informed consent of the indigenous people (IP) in the area, the municipal endorsement, provincial endorsement and the barangay endorsement.
The source said that often it is easier to get the prior consent of the IP and the favorable endorsement of the barangay.
He said that in so far as Monkayo is concerned the usual route is to get the favorable endorsement of the provincial government as Monkayo Mayor Manuel “Junjun” Brillantes is reportedly preferring small scale mining than large scale mining to operate in his municipality.
The Brillantes family has long been publicly known to be be having mining operations in Diwalwal that started in scale scale mining.
Asked on whether the mining areas in the mining barangays of Mainit, Bukal and Tagnocon of Nabunturan have been included in the MPSA areas of the large-scale mining firms, the source said “yes and even including the known small and medium scale mining areas up there in Masara and Pantukan areas.”
The known golden triangle of the Mainit, Bukal and Tagnocon have been known to have rich and plenty of gold deposits as several locals made gold strikes in their tunnel operations among whom were a certain names of Agre, Umpad, Morales and Mandin as heard in the rounds. The bullish mining in the golden triangle east of the poblacion since the recent years has caused for the present economic boom of Nabunturan.
Nabunturan’s mining has generated great multiplier effect as seen in the present thriving of businesses in the poblacion like hardwares, wholesale stores and motorcycle and motorcycle parts sellers. Cash registers of these stores keep on ringing these days as their establishments are mobbed by cash-rich buyers.
Miners who hit big have also been known to be on the buying binge for commercial lots in the poblacion while some of them have respectively built their own mansions, posh boarding houses and gasoline stations.
The source said that what has triggered big interest from the Chamber of Mines’ members of the large scale mining interests to enter and mine in Compostela Valley is the declaration of the Crew Mining in the areas of the former Apex Mining that it had earned P5 billion income from its Masara operations.
He source further said that with the spectre of large scale mining firms swallowing up the mineralized areas of Compostela Valley, it would be back to square one again for the homegrown small and medium scale miners as sooner they would face off with large scale ones from Makati, with billions of capitalization, like before when Diwalwal small scale miners tangled with Apex Mines or with South East Mining (SEM), or those protagonists in Camanlangan, New Bataan or in the mining areas of Pantukan. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)