Rehab of Naboc River continues; Task Force Naboc enforces closure of mineral processing plants
Davao de Oro (February 8, 2020) – Almost a year after the Provincial Task Force Naboc River issued the cease and desist order (CDO) on the mineral processing plants in Mt. Diwalwal in Monkayo, the task force is set to enforce the closure of the remaining carbon-in-pulp (CIP) and ball/rod mills still operating in the mining area this month.
It will however, be moved out and transferred at the Mabatas area as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to rehabilitate the heavily polluted Naboc River.
“The Provincial Naboc River Rehabilitation Masterplan serves as or framework in reviving the river. We need to execute first the CDO as we cannot implement the plan if there is still mercury and cyanide that will flow in the river,” Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Chamberlain J. Babiera said.
While Babiera commended the ball mill operators who have cooperated when the CDO was first issued by the Task Force Naboc on March 2019, he also urged the remaining operators to follow suit and transfer operations at the government-designated site.
The Mineral Processing Zone in Barangay Mabatas has tailings containment facility designed to prevent the direct discharge of wastes from the plants to the waterways. Mabatas dam was established in 2003 but was never used for the gold processing by small-scale miners.
Without proper tailing ponds, mineral processing plants operating in Mt. Diwata for decades has discharged toxic wastes directly to the river. Official studies have shown pollutants particularly high levels of mercury and fecal coliform beyond government standard in the Naboc river, an important source of water for farming in the province.
“It is not only the miners and residents of Mt. Diwata that are at risk, but also farmers downstream who source water for irrigation of the rice fields in Barangays Tubo-tubo, Naboc and Mangayon in Compostela,” said Monkayo Mayor Ramil Gentugaya
In his State of the Province Address last month, Gov. Tyron Uy has reiterated his commitment in the rehabilitation plan and thanked the DENR, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Interior and Local Government and the Municipal Government of Monkayo led by Mayor Ramil Gentugaya for helping him advance this cause. (Fe F Maestre, ID DdO)