A cluster of shanties (top and above photos) along the sea-river banks at Palanas, Paracale, CamNorte, where the mining tragedy occurred on Tuesday. -- Photo by FR JOSELITO CHAVEZ
MANILA: The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ordered on Thursday an investigation into the mining accident in Camarines Norte, which killed at least three workers and trapped others after a site tunnel collapsed.
Secretary Ramon Paje said the Bicol regional office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is already investigating the incident.
He said MGB is also ready to help in rescue and retrieval operations.
"Our field personnel are already closely coordinating with the mining operator in the area, along with police and local government personnel, for an assessment of the situation," Paje said in a statement.
Initial reports showed that the tunnel in Barangay Palanas, Paracale collapsed Tuesday night after dynamite exploded in the mine site.
MGB regional director Theodore Rommel Pestano said the explosion occurred in the property of United Paragon Mining Corporation (UPMC).
Since the tunnel was near the shoreline, the explosion may have caused water from the sea to flood into the collapsed area and trap the small-scale miners, he said.
Local police have already retrieved the bodies of three dead miners.
The mining operation was allegedly financed by a certain Agusto Jordan, a resident of Palanas, police said.
Pestano, meanwhile, said he will meet with UPMC's security managers since the collapsed area was reportedly within 200m from the shoreline, meaning it was supposed to be a "no-go zone" for miners. – ABS-CBN News Bicol