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Chinese miner LAMI in hot water for flattening Zambales mountain
Chinese miner LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc. (LAMI) is currently in hot water with the Supreme Court and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for allegedly leveling a mountain and chopping down trees to build a seaport for shipping chromite-rich soil from the Philippines to China.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said Wednesday that LAMI’s mining license may be canceled if the mining company defies a department notice of violation. The notice asks LNL Archipelago to “cease and desist from further construction and development.”
He said that the department, through its Zambales regional office, issued the notice on June 1, 2012 because of an investigation that found LAMI had failed to plant trees and failed to secure a permit to cut trees.
The investigation also found that LNL Archipelago failed to secure a permit to operate an air pollution source and control installation (APSCI), failed to designate an air pollution control officer, failed to submit the self-monitoring and compliance monitoring report, failed to conduct marine sampling.
The mining company leveled tress beyond the scope of its project and did not post its environmental clearance certificate, according to the DENR.
“Further, the investigation team has confirmed the earlier reports of bulldozing and leveling of hill activities are being conducted in the area,” the notice read.
The notice can be lifted if the company rehabilitates the affected areas.
“We will follow procedure. If warranted, we will revoke their license,” said Secretary Paje, “We also furnished Congressman Palmones a copy of the notice. We will require another investigation if that will help resolve the issue.”
Writ of kalikasan
The Supreme Court granted Agham Partylist Rep. Angelo B. Palmones’ petition for a writ of kalikasan.
The writ was issued on June 13 against Paje, Philippine Ports Authority general manager Juan Sta. Ana, LAMI president Lawrence Lenio, LAMI general manager Philip Floria, as well as provincial and regional police offices in the area.
The writ is a special remedy under Philippine law, which protects people's right to a healthy environment, and issued to compel violators to stop acts damaging the environment as well as restore and rehabilitate it.
Palmones alleged in his petition that the activities of LAMI were destroying the province’s natural barriers of from typhoons and floods. Residents were not consulted before the firm started working over the area, the lawmaker added.
Also, Palmones said he and House Committee on Ecology Chair Rep. Danilo Fernandez went to the mining site last April and were able to confirm what LNL Archipelago was doing to the environment.
Palmones said he already asked Paje to issue a cease and desist order against the company, but the DENR chief allegedly did not heed his request.
In a two-page notice of resolution signed by SC Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal and released to media on Wednesday, the high court said it was referring Palmones' case to the Court of Appeals.
Meanwhile, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau confirmed that an active mining permit was issued to LAMI thru Filipinas Mining, which is the Filipino partner and holder of the minerals production sharing agreement (MPSA) with the national government.
Filipinas Mining operates a nickel and chromite mine in Sta. Cruz, Zambales.
“A violation of the ECC is a ground for cancellation of the MPSA,’ said Mines Bureau Director Leo Jasareno.
The Bureau said that it was the regional office that issued the temporary foreshore lease for the pier site. The pier is outside the mining area, about 25 kilometers away. —VS/DMV, GMA News
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