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DENR probing Surigao del Norte mine’s failure to contain tailings

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it has launched an investigation into Greenstone Resources Corp. after the reported failure of its tailings storage facility (TSF).

In a statement on Sunday, the DENR said it had dispatched a team to investigate the cause of the TSF failure and assess the extent of the damage.

“The (Mines and Geosciences Bureau) is also working closely with Greenstone Resources, local authorities and community leaders to ensure the safety and well-being of residents in the affected areas,” Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said.

Greenstone Resources operates the Siana gold mine in Surigao del Norte.

Separately, the company said that cracks were discovered on the embankment of its tailing storage facility, caused by an earthquake and rains in Mindanao.

“The company voluntarily suspends its mining operations in order to expedite its emergency response activities, to closely examine what has transpired, and to ensure the absolute safety of its beneficiary communities,” it said.

The DENR said that it will investigate the factors that led to the incident, as well as the integrity of the facility and safety systems and procedures in place.

“Infrastructure failures highlight the urgent need for monitoring, regulation and oversight in the mining industry to de-risk operations and prevent incidents in the future,” Ms. Yulo-Loyzaga said.

“This is urgently needed especially because of the seismicity of our country and the impacts of climate change,” she added.

The DENR is currently reviewing the environmental and social impact of mining operation in the country.

“While we understand the important contribution to national development of the mining industry in Surigao del Norte and elsewhere in the country, risk management is a continuous dynamic and pro-active process,” she said.

Greenstone Resources said that it will rebuild any homes damaged by the incident. — Adrian H. Halili