Mayor’s firm may lose mining permit in Antique
The Daily Guardian
November 8, 2011
By: Albert T. Mamora and F.A.L. Angelo
THE MINING firm owned by an Iloilo mayor might lose its mining permit from the Antique provincial government after officials and residents of the barangay where the mining site is located withdrew their endorsement for its operations.
Antique Gov. Exequiel Javier said he has no recourse but to revoke the permit of Archlegan Mines Corp. as the people of Brgy. San Roque, Libertad don’t like its presence in the area anymore.
Archlegan, owned by Passi City Mayor Jesry Palmares and his wife Jinky and a certain Teodoro S. Loriega, have a small-scale mining claim in the village which straddles the boundary of Libertad and Pandan towns in Antique.
Initially, 195 residents of San Roque endorsed the project while 5 out of 8 members of the barangay council approved the mining activities in September. On October 6, Gov. Javier approved Archlegan’s mining permit a day after the firm submitted its application.
Environmentalists and concerned citizens, however, opposed Archlegan’s operations saying mining will be done in the heart of a protected area. They also belied that the firm is into small scale mining as its operations will cover more than 100 hectares of forest.
Under environmental rules, small scale mining can only be done using spades and picks (piko-pala) and will not employ heavy equipment and demolition using explosives.
On October 26, the Sangguniang Barangay of San Roque also withdrew its endorsement passed September 16 after the residents turned down the mining firm’s operations.
Javier said he has to abide by the decision of the barangay folks and he cannot tell them what’s good for them.
“The barangay withdrew the endorsement, then I will have to revoke the permit, that’s the end of it. I cannot tell the barangay what’s good for them, that is why I issued the permit. I thought they wanted it because they needed assistance like water supply, nurse visitation every week, ambulance,” Javier said.
Javier said while the heavy equipment that entered San Roque was meant for the construction of access road leading to the mining site, he will abide by the decision of the village because “that’s the voice of the people who will be affected.”
Marble to mining
Based on accounts and documents secured by The Daily Guardian, the mining site in San Roque was initially a marble quarry handled by Tudor Mining Corp. in early 2000.
In 2005, Archlegan hired an Indonesian firm to explore the area and it later discovered rich iron ore deposits in the quarry site, covering around seven villages in the Libertad-Pandan boundary. Assay tests conducted showed that the iron ore from San Roque was of 90% purity.
Archlegan lost no time in tracking down the owners of Tudor Mining – Solomon Turrecha and a certain Atty. De Guzman – to convince them to sell their mining rights in San Roque.
Reports said De Guzman sold his rights for P200,000 only while Turrecha is believed to have earned millions of pesos after settling with Archlegan. Tudor then waived its rights on the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued to the quarry site and transferred it to Archlegan.
The provincial board of Antique headed by Vice Gov. Rosie Dimamay will also inquire into the operations of Archlegan and how it secured endorsements from local officials in the first place.
Category: For Local News