|Satellite map showing JGMC's proximity to Mambulao Bay.|
By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
A TOP executive of gold miner Johson Gold Mining Corp has taken exception to an MWBuzz report on the worsening pollution of the Mambulao Bay.
JGMC vice-president Jason A Marcelo said the siltation of the bay has already been present even before the “rampant placer mining activities” within the municipality of Mambulao.
“Rampant placer mining activities” as referred to by Marcelo are actually the small-scale gold panning operations carried out by local people in many gold sites around Mambulao every day.
They are known locally as “gold-panners” or “magkakabod”.
Marcelo expressed his reaction in email sent to MWBuzz on Monday, January 2.
Marcelo said: “Please note that prior to today's rampant placer mining activities within the area, Mambulao Bay has already been silted or has already had siltation issues since the 1940's due to operations of old mining companies.”
Although he did not name such miners, Marcelo actually referred to the then giant iron miner, the Philippine Iron Mines in barrio Larap some 7km from the town proper of Mambulao, and the San Mauricio Mining Co, which operated from a mountain on the outskirts of the town.
Both mining camps overlooked the Mambulao Bay.
PIM operated actively after the war until 1963, and ceased mining operations after exhausting extractible high-grade ore deposits.
It however installed a furnace in 1964 to process its iron ore stockpile, and the iron produced was exported to Japan until 1974, when the miner finally ceased operations.
On the other hand, San Mauricio Mining operated from 1936 and ceased operations a few years later.
A few years ago, Johson Gold Mining acquired the mining rights in San Mauricio area, where it now operates, and other mining rights elsewhere in Mambulao.
In his email, Marcelo implied that PIM and San Mauricio did not have wastes containment facilities, suggesting that both dumped their wastes into the coastal waters.
On containing waste water or slurry, Marcelo said that JMGC has waste water treatment facilities and plant tails or waste impounding facility.
“JGMC continuous to maintain and develop its siltation ponds to avoid siltation from its operations,” he said.
However, Marcelo did not clarify if the company eventually releases its treated waste water to the environment, through the nearby tributaries that flow down towards the Mambulao Bay.
Likewise, he did not say if the treated waste water was being re-used (recycled) to process new bulk of raw gold-laden earth materials hauled from its two quarries – the Bonito gold (San Mauricio) project and the Sta Ana gold project.