Environmental & Health Impacts of Mining on Surrounding Communities of Surigao Del Norte

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Background of the Study
INTRODUCTION
To achieve rapid economic development, many countries resort to various activities to use and take advantage of natural resources. One of such activities is mining. Thus, mining became an important activity which has potential for the contribution of development of areas enriched with resources.

Having visited Surigao Del Norte once a month starting February until August of this year, I was deeply frustrated by the negative impact of mining in the province. I saw how communities affected by mining. I heard how indigenous people had been shifted off their lands to make way for mining and how their consultation rights had been ignored. I saw polluted rivers, destroyed mangrove forests, damaged coral and ruined agriculture. I concluded that Surigao del Norte is in danger of losing much of its rich biodiversity and damaging the lives of unique indigenous cultures.

Surigao Del Norte is a province of the Philippines located in Caraga Region in Mindanao. It has a population of almost 450,000 lines between the different groups which cannot be accurately distinguished. It has an area of 2,740 square kilometers. It embraces within its domain 27 municipalities and a component city. Mangrove is the major theme in the coastal areas of the province. It has also many caves and tunnels in its islands. The ironwood forests of the province are one of the watersheds most productive resources. By its nature, it is growing and adapted to a mineralized soil. So it should be carefully managed for sustained productivity. Its biggest islands are usually mountainous and rich in minerals. Its islands have one of the world's largest deposit of nickel and chromite. The smaller ones either rest on sand and gravel or have a limestone base bonded by boulders ( large rounded mass of rock lying on the surface of the ground or embedded in the soil ), reefs, and sandbars. There are also springs, lagoons, caves, waterfalls, mangroves, marshes and whirlpools which made the province more appealing to all nature lovers. Surigao is home to the "Mamanwa" ethnic tribe.

The Department of Labor and Employment - Caraga Region released an official list of mining companies in Caraga for 2012 Inspection. There are 35 mining companies declared in the list that continuously operate in the whole region. And there are other non registered mining companies that are not included in the list that are pursuing mining operations.

Mining activities have lots of environmental and health impacts. This has derived from the methods of operation by the mining companies, of course it has effects on the natural environment as well as the people in the surrounding communities. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Surigao del Norte has a variety of mineral resources and corrispondingly there's large-scale mining companies invested more and expanded their operations in the province. Nickel production in the province is dominated by these large mining companies that are operating in different communities in Surigao del Norte. The three giant and controversial mining companies located in the province are Tag-anito High Pressure Acid Leaching (THPAL-Sumitomo), Tag-anito Mining Corporation (TMC), and the Platinum Gold Metal Corporation (PGMC).

The giant Tag-anito Mining Corporation (TMC) is one of three mining companies of the Nickel Asia Corporation in Surigao del Norte owned by Manny Zamora, located at Brgy. Taganito,Claver. The TMC has ravaged the area for many years and has immensely destroyed the environment of the province. It has ruined both fresh water and marine sources, devastated mountains, violated the rights of the indigenous people and workers.

The Platinum Gold Metal Corporation (PGMC) is mining nickel ore for foreign buyers with a permit to operate under the name of Mr. Atayde, but is currently operated by one Mrs. Tata Dasmarinas Marahomsar. Millions of tons of nickel ore have already been plundered and shipped to imperialist...
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