Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mining 10: Urban Tailings vs. Mining Tailings

This is a continuation of my earlier article, Rio Tuba Mining in South Palawan last March 17, 2013. Among the most commonly-cited reasons why many people dislike mining in general and large-scale mining in particular, are the mine tailings -- or mining dumps, slimes, tails, residues that look ugly and discolor rivers and seas. Four photos below I got from the facebook wall of JB Baylon, posted March 16, 2013.

Urban tailings, or upland farm tailings or mud, coming from Pasig River and its upland tributaries like portions of Laguna Lake and Marikina River.

Manila Bay, mouth of Pasig River
Compare it with Rio Tuba River below, where mineral ore extraction is also happening 24/7 so long as it's not raining. No mine tailings.

Rio Tuba River, Bataraza, Palawan
The bay area where the mining ores are stockpiled before they will be loaded to waiting ships. Those in orange hills are tarp cover to reduce or control any dust pollution when the wind blows from the sea. Those not covered yet are still under solar drying to reduce moisture content, or dry enough and are slowly being transported to the ships.

Mining ores ready for transport to waiting ships
Another ore stockpile area below. It is sandwiched between an agri farm and a thick layer of mango forest by the bay. Again, no trace of mine tailings.

Another ore stockpile area in Rio Tuba

The next four photos are from my camera phone, taken last March 15-16, 2013 on my visit there.  Below is the main active mining area where earth-moving equipment like huge tractors, bulldozers, backhoes and trucks are working. It is being surrounded by previously mined out areas that have been rehabilitated and are now covered by forest trees, or dried up mine tailings pond, waiting to be rehabilitated and reforested.
A big painting on the wall of one of the buildings inside the company compound. The various awards received by the company out of its 3 decades plus in operation.

A big clubhouse inside the company compound. The compound is privately owned in Barangay Rio Tuba proper and outside the mining claims. 

The guest house where I and other visitors of the company stay. It's a modest place with a lobby that also serve as a briefing or conference area, then dining tables, then small air-con rooms. There is wifi inside but internet connection is slow.

It is true that not all big mining companies are doing the above shown responsible mining practice. Public pressure should be turned on them so they will become responsible miners too. The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CMP) as the sole industry association should be able to police its own ranks and member companies. Then public pressure for a "No to Mining whatsoever" or "Stop Mining at all cost" will become a hollow campaign.

See also:
Mining 6: Large Investments vs. Large Bureaucracies, February 19, 2013 
Mining 7: Mining Taxation and Government, March 08, 2013
Mining 8: Rio Tuba Mining in South Palawan, March 17, 2013

Mining 9: Supreme Court Hearing on RA 7942, March 27, 2013

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