Pantukan mining areas have big cracks- miners

May 5-11, 2011

Not only those considered danger areas in the now so known Panganason mining area have big cracks seen in the upper ground but also those other neighboring mining areas in Diat Uno, Diat Dos, Boringot, Pospor and Palo where at least 5,000 families live.
“All the mining areas there are already dangerous with the big cracks in the grounds. Some grounds appeared to have sunk down by as high as two-arm length. Mas grabe ug kuyaw na kaayo ang mga liki sa pospor area,” said an old timer miner Nonito Salas in an interview.
Another miner Vicente Rifamonte said old ground cracks have long been known by the miners there but they just do not mind it.
Said mining areas have been mined since the 80s. Boringot, for one, had a gold rush starting almost simultaneously shortly after Diwalwal had in the early 80s. Like Diwalwal it is still being mined in deepest levels underground at present.
Salas and Rifamonte said they have come downhill for a rest on “wait and see” following the nationally publicized Panganason landslide where 14 miners were killed and 8 others were missing.
Salas said that in the Panganason landslide it affected about two hectares of sunk grounds that the town authorities now have declared to be danger zones.
Mayor Celso “Tok” Sarenas in separate interview said they are already stopping their retrieval operations as retrieving teams can no longer withstand the foul odor emitting from still buried cadavers that have already so decomposed beyond recognition.
“Families and relatives of those still buried there are open to the idea of making the landslide area as somehow a memorial place where trees would be planted and named in memory of those killed and buried there,” Sarenas said.
He added that the local government and the Bureau of Mines have declared many danger zones in the town’s mining areas where mining is already not allowed.
He said that Diat areas have cracks known already in the past as in April 2008 he had already forewarned miners not to mine in landslide-prone areas especially those with cracks.
But, he added, authorities could not just daily monitor and control people from entering and mining in those areas as they take risks out of livelihood reason and counter those risks with bahala na system.
He said that they are also coming up a mining ordinance that gives heavy penalty to those violating the no-mining policy in danger areas.
A former miner, Barangay Sta. Cruz kagawad Beinvenido Generale said that landslide- and erosion-prone areas in the Pantukan’s known mining villages would affect a big number of people as when he left Panganason in 1991 to shift livelihood downhill the Panganason mining area had already no hardwood trees left as these were felled down to be used as timbers to fortify tunnels.
He said that when he first arrived in Panganason in 1984 the place was all trees all over.
“As miners came in to mine and reside Panganason, the trees were little by little felled down and cut to be tunnel timbers. When I left in 1991 only the ferns and handamay plants remained,” he recalled.
“Way napusoy didto ug sa Diat Uno ug Diat Dos kay dagko man ang bina sa una (Nobody lost there as gold veins were bigger before),” Generale recalled.
Rifamonte and Salas bared that makeshifts and residential houses lined up in the “skidding area” in Diat Uno, Diat Dos and Centro Panganason and in lowwer grounds in those areas are over 100 plantas (carbon-in-pulp cyanidation plants) and over 1,000 ballmills operating.
The mining areas in Pantukan’s mountain peaks where gold strikes were heard and attracted people are having a distance of about 3 to 4 kilometers from each other. Diat Uno is about 3 kms to Diat Dos, while Boringot is about 4 kms to Panganason.
From the town’s poblacion, a single-motorcyle ride will take miners for a difficult and almost uphill travel of 45 minutes to 1 hour going to the town’s still flourishing mining areas. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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