Mining Engineering students from the University of the Philippines (UP) have expressed their full support to the move by the government to allow the transport of nickel stockpiles at the Manicani island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

The UPD Engineering Student Council and the student organizations under the UPD DMMME said the removal of ore was seen as the best option to ensure both the safety of the people and the environment.

They expressed belief that HMC has been complying with all the necessary standards as required under law.

The groups said that based on assessment and evidence obtained from the UP Mining Engineering Society’s (UP MINERS) immersion in Manicani last October and December 2015, HMC has been seen to comply with its rehabilitation program which is required by the law.

“Testimonies from barangay captains and Manicani residents can attest to the rehabilitation activities in their island done by HMC through the past years,” the groups said in a statement.

With this, the UPD ESC and the student organizations of the UPD DMMME supported the removal of the nickel stockpiles, which was also echoed by the Manicani residents.

At the same time, they called on anti-mining groups to stop their misinformation campaign claiming that HMC has resumed its operation in the island.

“We call on the anti-mining groups to cease their efforts to block HMC from retrieving these stockpiles as the Ore Transport Permit was issued in order to prevent the disasters that would occur if these stockpiles were left deposited in the island.

Last 2011, MGB Region 8 issued a suspension order regarding HMC’s mining operations in Manicani. This previous mining operation has left several stockpiles of the mined nickel ore within the area.

Runoffs from these stockpiles were seen to continuously flow towards the community downstream during the rainy seasons; posing a threat, not only to the community’s safety, but also to the surrounding environment.

Due to the harmful effects of the nickel stockpiles, MGB Region 8 allowed the issuance of an Ore Transport Permit (OTP) to HMC for immediate stockpile disposal.

This was seen as the best option to ensure both the safety of the people and the environment.

But this action, however, was not understood well by several anti-mining formations as the OTP was somehow perceived as a permit for mine reoperation, which according to the group, needs to be clarified and corrected.

“We also condemn the spreading of false information regarding this matter as mining is being antagonized by these false assumptions and generalizations,” they added.

Moreover, they also stressed the importance of mining as this does not only provide the minerals, materials, and metals to industries but also the resources needed for the practice of all other engineering disciplines.

“That is why, along with the need for materials, the duty for responsible mining also exists,” they said.

With this, the groups have been actively advocating responsible mining.

For mining to be classified as responsible, they said, it must pursue the rehabilitation of the community and the environment.

It must also aim towards the development of the community, environment, and country and it must involve the government in these efforts of sustainability and development so that mining activities would always be properly regulated and monitored.

“We call on greater government support in rehabilitating mining communities and greater efforts in spreading awareness about the importance of mining and its responsible practice,” they said.

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