TUGUEGARAO CITY, March 26 — The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region 2 (MGB-2) conducted an Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign recently at Didipio Multi Purpose Hall at Barangay Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya.
This was in an effort to inform the villagers in Didipio regarding the underground operation of OceanaGold Philippines Inc.
The IEC campaign was in response to the request of the residents of Barangay Didipio to conduct an IEC drive in their barangay through a Barangay General Assembly Meeting.
According to Alfredo Pugong Jr., village chief of Didipio, there is an ongoing petition against the underground operation of OceanaGold spearheaded by Didipio Earth Savers Multi-Purpose Association (DESAMA), an anti-mining group in Nueva Vizcaya and linked with Annvik, a non-government organization (NGO).
The petitioners believed that once the underground operation starts, the OceanaGold can build tunnels at any direction to extract minerals extending to adjacent barangays of Nueva Vizcaya. This raised an alarm regarding the mining operations of OceanaGold in Nueva Vizcaya that allegedly would cause safety and environmental problems in the province.
Prior to the Barangay Assembly Meeting, Engr. Geoffrey Prado, Engineer III, Engr. Antonio Chumacog, Engineer III and Mr. Demetrio Corsino, Community Affairs Officer II (CAO), conducted dialogue with the concerned OGPI personnel on January 23, 2015 to discuss the actual presentation of their underground development plan.
During the barangay assembly meeting, Engr. Anabelle Punzalan of OceanaGold presented the scope of Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) and the PDMF area geology and mineralization, and discussed the optimized mine design and site overview of the underground tunnel.
Engr. Punzalan also discussed the limit operations as to the distance of boulevard from open pit and distance of boulevard from underground operation. She also talked about the ramps and mining methods and underground mine plan decline to enlighten further the constituents regarding their underground operation.
On the other hand, Engr. Prado explained that the underground plan presented to the constituents is the same plan submitted and approved by the MGB office. He elaborated that the underground plan is only under the open pit and does not extend at any direction of Didipio or adjacent barangays.
Further, he said that they have to do the underground mining to extract the minerals down below the open pit.
Prado added that it will not be realistic to do it all with open pit for it would incur a lot of waste materials and would no longer be economical.
Permits for the underground operation were already issued by the MGB and Environment Management Bureau (EMB). (PNA)