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Call for total shutdown of Antique mines

CALUYA (Agencies) : Hot on the heels of the second major disaster at an open pit coal mine in Antique, the Diocesan Social Action Centre of Antique, together with the National Secretariat for Social Action and Caritas Philippines, is demanding the complete closure of the Semirara Coal Mines.

“We strongly reiterate our call for the complete closure of the mines and the prohibition of mining anywhere else in Antique,” the groups say in a joint statement.

“We demand that the government recognise the direct contribution of coal mining and coal powered operations to global warming. It is the entire country that stands at a loss for every environmental disaster that hits it,” they add.

Backed by studies, the groups point out that coal mining activities in Semirara have destroyed over 83.92 hectares mangrove area and accounted for the loss of 31 individual species, as well as at least two kilometres of coral reef between 2009 and 2014.

Research also shows how the Semirara Coal Mines continue to worsen the toxicity of the surroundings, poisoning rich fishing grounds shared by Antique, Romblon, Mindoro, and Palawan.

“Of the fossil fuels, coal is the most dangerous insofar as global warming is concerned,” the groups explain, adding that Semirara accounts for 7.5 of the 7.8 million metric tons of coal produced locally.

“Typhoon Yolanda alone is a clear and strong testimony to the fact that the government can barely cope with the disasters brought about by global warming. Yolanda is not going to be the last of these disasters,” the groups note.

The groups say they hold serious concern over the extension of Semirara’s operating contract, which runs up to 2027 and the plans for the expansion of its ground coverage from the original 5,500 hectares to the current 12,700 hectares.

“Unong Pit, a Semirara area abandoned after its resources were depleted, is now underwater. The 400-hectare Panian Pit is walking towards this watery death as well,” the groups point out.

The tragedy, which killed nine miners earlier last month, took place at the north wall of the Panian open pit mine in Antique. 


It was a repeat of a tragedy that took place back in 2013, the same mine, which took away the lives of 10 people.