San Carlos diocese opposes copper mining project in Negros Occidental

January 12, 2024 - 5:09 PM
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Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos. (CBCP News)

As a mining company is digging its way into the hills of Negros Occidental province, local Catholic leaders are fighting to halt the multimillion peso project.

The Diocese of San Carlos’ concerns regarding the chalcocite copper mining project in the city of Sagay’s Lope Jaena village include threats of environmental and health hazards.

“We express deep concern over Tambuli Mining Company Inc.’s failure to address vital issues raised, particularly the potential impacts on soil, air, water, and the overall community well-being,” the diocese said in a statement.

The collective statement was signed by Bishop Gerardo Alminaza; Fr. Julius Tormis, director of the diocese’s Ecology Ministry; Fr. Joferson Garces, the Diocesan Social Action Center director.

They said the project’s proximity to Tan-ao River and Himogaan River is a major concern as they are vital for fishing, vegetable gardening, irrigation, and fishponds.

The diocese also stressed that the Himogaan River is also culturally significant, hosting “Adlaw Sang Suba” and supporting tourism, irrigating sugarcane fields, and aiding coastal fishing.

These rivers discharge into the Sagay Marine Reserve, amplifying ecological concerns, they added.

“To date, the company’s inability to provide satisfactory responses underscores the urgent need for a thorough examination of potential impacts on the community’s natural resources,” they also said.