DENR shuts down 1,800 gold processing plants in Diwalwal

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MT DIWATA, Monkayo — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) launched its three-day “Lihok Alang sa Naboc” program to implement a closure order to the 1,797 ball mill and the batch-type Carbon-in-Pulp (CIP) tank operators in Barangay Mt. Diwata (popularly known as Diwalwal) in Monkayo, Compostela Valley starting on Saturday.

DENR-11 Regional Executive Director Ruth Tawantawan said it is high-time that gold processing plants in Diwalwal should transfer to Mine Processing Zone in Mabatas, Monkayo. “(That is) after 33 years of no permit and no tax. We gave them enough time,” she said in an interview on Saturday. The operators were given until March 15 to dismantle and transfer their plants to the Mabatas zone.

Tawantawan said the government needs to rehabilitate the Naboc River from toxic contamination. Based on studies by the DENR-Environmental Management Board (EMB), the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB), the United Nations Industrial and Development Organization (UNIDO), and other organizations, the Naboc River has high concentration of mercury add to that incidents of soil erosion and siltation in the river.

Despite intervention by the DENR, the National Task Force Diwalwal and the local government units, the river is still grossly being contaminated with mercury and cyanide from mining operations.

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