The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) suspended the permit of Dolomite Mining Corporation and Philippine Mining Services Corporation on Friday, September 25.
“We have to suspend all operations (both mining and quarrying) as an investigation is ongoing. Starting today,” DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu told reporters during a site inspection in Alcoy town, southern Cebu, where the mine is located.
The inspection – and subsequent suspension – was prompted by findings from Cebu province’s environmental office, which found marine life was dwindling and corals were damaged from dolomite mining in the town.
The dolomite from this mine was used to produce the synthetic sand in the controversial project turning a portion of Manila Bay into a white sand beach.
Aside from the marine damage caused by the mine, the office will also investigate the mine’s impact on water and air quality damage from the mine’s ship loading facility.
“I thank Secretary Cimatu acting quickly,” Governor Gwen Garcia told reporters on Friday.
“He has, I’m sure, already been apprised of the investigation that we had conducted, and from the reports that have arrived been discussed yesterday from the different agencies,” she added.
Garcia said there were “obvious violations” to the ECC (environmental compliance certificate) and the water discharge permit.”
The Cebu governor said the violations were “causing degradation of our sea bed and was also contemplating issuing a cease and desist order. “I thank Secretary Cimatu for beating me to it,” she said.
The mining site is also home to the endangered Black Shama bird, locally known as the Siloy.
Garcia had previously issued a cease and desist order for quarrying and local distribution only, citing environmental concerns linked to overproduction.
The mining company is the only large-scale producer of dolomite materials in the Philippines and is a holder of a 25-year Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA).
The mine is about 525 hectares of dolomite property located within the municipalities of Alcoy and Dalaguete, Cebu. The mining permits are supposed to expire in 2030.
There is no definite date or timetable when the mine in Alcoy will be allowed to resume operations. – Rappler.com