SP seeks more info about Vanadium’s mining in Lingayen Gulf
WANTING to know more about the upcoming Large-scale Offshore Mining Project in the Lingayen Gulf, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) has invited heads of various government agencies in Region 1 in its Question Hour during the legislative body’s regular session on October 4.
At the instance of Second District Board Member Von Mark Mendoza, invited during the Question Hour are Atty. Crisalde Barcelo, regional executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Ma. Dorica Naz-Hipe, regional director of the Environmental Management Bureau (MGB), and Socrates Gaerlan, regional director of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau.
Mendoza said they would like to hear from the heads of the regional government agencies regarding the application of the Iron Ore and Vanadium Philippines, Inc. to conduct large-scale mining activity in 10,064-hectare area of the Lingayen Gulf, some two to three kilometers from the shores of Sual, Labrador, Lingayen, Binmaley, Dagupan City and San Fabian.
The company applied to conduct the large-scale offshore mining activity way back in September 15, 2015 but it was only on November 25, 2020 when the national government through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea in behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, signed the contract for the project.
The company is already reportedly conducting mining exploration on a large part of the Lingayen Gulf to find out if the metallic and non-metallic minerals underneath the area have commercial value.
The regional offices of the DENR and EMB were mandated to conduct scoping as well as public hearings to determine the sentiment of the people in the areas where the proposed large-scale offshore mining activity will take place. Depending on the results of the public hearing, it will recommend to the DENR central office the issuance of Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the project.
Once the ECC is issued, the company is targeting to undertake mineral extraction by the third quarter of 2022.
But environmentalists and fishermen expressed their vehement opposition to the project, fearing the strong impact on the environment, particularly the eco-system of the Lingayen Gulf and in adjacent areas, They also fear the massive loss of livelihood of marginal fishermen and their families as well.
A report said that since the project is a large-scale offshore mining activity and therefore under the jurisdiction of the national government, the provincial government has nothing to do with it and neither was it consulted about the matter.
It was learned that the proponent of the project consulted with each individual mayors in connection with its offshore mining activity but not to any official of the provincial government. (Leonardo Micua)
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