THREE small-scale miners drowned in a mining pit in Barangay Santa Elena in Jose Panganiban town, this province, recently, police said.
Chief Inspector Samson Belmonte, acting police chief of Jose Panganiban, identified the victims as Michael Alas, 29, and his brother Andrew, 22; and Ronnie Sanorjo, 25.
The three drowned at around 11am after the air compressor aiding them in breathing underwater while searching for gold ores in water-filled pits malfunctioned.
Belmonte said the miners were brought to Jose Panganiban Primary Hospital in the town proper but were pronounced dead on arrival by the attending physician.
Governor Edgardo Tallado has proposed that small-scale mining be allowed in the province until December, but with the consent of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
He said he recognized that small-scale mining is the primary source of livelihood of many residents and that preventing them from operating would be like “killing” them.
The power to grant permits to small-scale miners has been devolved to local governments.
In January, however, small-scale mining operations in Camarines Norte were suspended after allegations that some miners and operators were violating environmental laws.
The charges arose after two miners drowned in a seaside mining pit in Paracale, a neighboring town of Jose Panganiban, on January 25.
Small-scale mining is widespread in the towns of Jose Panganiban, Paracale, Basud and Labo. – Inquirer