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Villagers take on mining firm: Australian company blamed for closing road, dumping waste in village


Parishioners of a town in the southern Philippines are seeking the help of the provincial governor to compel an Australian mining firm to clean up the waste it allegedly dumped in their community.

The mining company, Greenstone Resources, not only dumps waste but has also closed a road used for transporting products, residents of the Saints Peter and Paul parish of the town of Tubod in Surigao del Norte said over the weekend.

Greenstone officials were not available for comment today. Joseph Hurado, Greenstone’s local spokesman, said Friday that questions would be answered by Australian company officials if they were available.

The villagers fear continuing mining operations by Greenstone in their area would endanger the local church and the school in Cawilan village.

“We experienced flooding we never thought would occur here in Cawilan last February and March this year. [The floods] damaged crops, livestock and other properties. [It happened] after Greenstone dumped their mine waste from the open pit they are rehabilitating at Cawilan creek,” said Bonifacio Dano, co-chair of the town’s parish pastoral council.

Dano said the parish had asked Greenstone to stop its operations but its “continuing defiance forced us to bring our complaints to Surigao del Norte governor Sol Folcadilla Matugas.”

“We are optimistic that Governor Matugas will see for herself how this mining firm damaged our biodiversity,” Dano said.

Parish officials are also concerned that their problem will be compounded by the opening of Greenstone’s mineral ore processing plant soon, as they will have to deal with emissions and “possible dumping of toxic wastes.”

Cawilan village officials passed a resolution on August 15 opposing the closure of a provincial road connecting three villages, saying it was a farm-to-market road used by farmers and fishermen from Lake Mainit.

Greenstone allegedly wanted to close the road because the daily activities of residents were hampering their operations and posing danger to the residents.

But the provincial board members claimed the mining firm closed the road without asking permission and just sought permission after residents in the area began complaining. (Original post here)

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