Published February 25, 2017, 10:01 PM By Jerry J. Alcayde
Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro — Anti-mining advocates here will hold a big multi-sectoral rally at the city plaza tomorrow as a show of support for Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez’s recent massive crackdown on mining firms in the country.
The rally organizers said they invited Lopez to witness the event in which she will be welcomed by Governors Alfonso V. Umali Jr. of Oriental Mindoro and Mario Gene J. Mendiola of Occidental Mindoro, Calapan City Mayor Arnan C. Panaligan, church and student groups, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Carlo M. Alcoba of Koalisyon Sagip Mindoro said they have received confirmation that the secretary will attend the rally which is set at 2 p.m.
They held a similar rally on June 12, 2015 with Lopez as one of their guests, when the secretary was then heading ABS-CBN’s “Bantay Kalikasan.”
Alcoba said they are fully supporting the decision of the DENR Secretary to cancel the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of Aglubang Mining Corporation (Intex), the mining company that was given concession permit by previous DENR officials to extract large deposits of nickel and cobalt in Villa Cerveza, Victoria, Oriental Mindoro, and Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.
DENR records show that the concession has an area of 113 square kilometers (11,315 hectares) in the central part of Mindoro.
Last February 2, Lopez decided to close down 23 mining firms and shut down 75 more mining operations in functional watersheds in the country.
Alcoba said the planned mining site, also known as the Mindoro Nickel Project, is situated in declared watershed areas encompassing the two provinces of Mindoro where ancestral domain belonging to Mangyan tribes are also located.
The province has a 25-year moratorium on all large-scale mining which was approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) through an ordinace in 2002.
The Mindoro Nickel Project of the Oslo-based Intex Resources is the largest mining asset in its global operations with a total investment of US$4.5 billion in capital and operating costs.