MGB allows mining to resume in Rizal

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DESPITE public clamor for its closure, mining companies operating in Rizal province were given the green light to resume operations by no less than the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), citing “minimal” contribution to flooding and siltation of river beds.

According to the MGB, mining operations within the Marikina River Basin contributed “minimal” effect to the massive flooding that submerged a large part of Marikina City and several towns in Rizal province during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses in the last quarter of 2020.

In lifting the suspension, the MGB said:  “With or without mining operations, flooding, erosion, and siltation will occur within the Marikina River Basin.”

“The quarrying operations in Rizal are just a fraction of the land disturbance. The contribution of these operations to the flooding and siltation of the Marikina River is only minimal,” it added.  

Interestingly, the MGB instead blamed rapid urbanization, natural erosion, deforestation of portions of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, and other disturbances for the siltation of the Marikina River and subsequent flooding along the floodplains.

MGB specifically lifted the temporary suspension orders imposed on seven Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) and six Mineral Processing Permits (MPPs) in Rizal, specifically, San Rafael Development Corp., Montalban Millex Aggregates Corp., Hardrock Aggregates, Inc., Rapid City Realty and Development Corp., Asensio-Pinzon Aggregates Corp., Rodrock and Aggregate Corp. [Oxford Mines, Inc.], Viba Aggregates & Marketing, Amiterra Aggregates Corp., Dream Rock Resources Phils., Inc., Superior Aggregates, Inc., and ATN Holdings, Inc.

Mining operations in Rizal were suspended pursuant to Memorandum Order No. 1, Series of 2020, which ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Composite Team to investigate quarry and crushing plant operations in Rizal in the wake of the devastation by Typhoon Ulysses on November 12, 2020.

Thousands of houses were submerged under water for weeks.

Since 2010, the Rizal provincial government has been asking the national government to suspend the mining permits of quarry operators in the province, but to no avail.

The DENR Composite Team said that the flooding on November 12, 2020 in Marikina City and other localities was caused by the massive amount of rainfall.

“The Sierra Madre Mountains, which is one of the sources of run-off from the headwater of Wawa Dam, was already oversaturated because of Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, Siony, and Tonyo, which all occurred right before Typhoon Ulysses,” MGB said in its decision. 

“This oversaturation greatly contributed to the swelling of the Marikina River, which tends to backflow from its channel towards the confluence of its tributaries causing the rise of riverine floodwater and consequent flooding in adjacent areas,” it added.

The DENR further said that the flooding within the low-lying areas of the Marikina River Basin is a natural hazard due to its geomorphologic setting.

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