Revisiting the Marinduque Mining Disaster

Manila Bulletin, April 2, 2008 | Go to article overview

Revisiting the Marinduque Mining Disaster


Byline: Francis N. Tolentino

JUSTICE delayed is justice denied. It has been twelve long years since the Marinduque mining disaster, and yet, nothing had seemed resolved. Cases filed in courts had been there for as long as the people of Marinduque can remember. The Boac river had never been restored and the people's lives had never been repaired. Indeed, green courts have been established, and this is a laudable move. But has the initiative been truly enough to expedite cases such as that against Marcopper and Placer Dome?

It brings shivers down the spine to recall the hateful lot that fell on the people of Marinduque some twelve years ago. On March 24, 1996, 3.4 million tons of metal enriched and acid generated tailings spilled into the 26-kilometer river of Boac (the largest waterway in Marinduque) at a discharge rate of 5-10 cubic meters per second, poisoning all forms of marine life that inhabited the river, and causing immense damage to the life support systems of nearby communities. For more than three decades, Placer Dome had conducted mining activities in Marinduque (despite much community resistance), amassing billions and billions of dollars from extracting Philippine mineral resources. Yet, it should be noted that during Placer Dome's 30-years of operation, "Marinduque endured one mining-related environmental disaster after another. For sixteen years, from 1975 to 1991, Placer Dome oversaw the dumping of 200 million tons of mine waste (tailings) directed into the shallow waters of Calancan Bay, covering corals and seagrasses and the bottom of the bay with 80 square kilometres of tailings. The food security of twelve fishing villages around the bay had been severely impacted...These tailings are also leaching metals into the bay and are suspected to be the cause of lead contamination that has been identified in children from the villages around the bay...In 1993, a dam holding back mine waste at the mountainous headwaters of the Mogpog River burst, flooding downstream villages and the town of Mogpog so severely that houses were swept away, water buffaloes and other livestock killed and crops destroyed." (Backgrounder on Placer Dome Marinduque, Philippines -- 16 January 2002 -- published by Mining Watch)

The disaster, and its magnitude, also caught international attention. The United Nations Environment Program/Department of Humanitarian Affairs (UNEP/DHA) Environment Unit conducted an assessment of the affected areas in Marinduque and arrived at the following conclusions:

* The Makulapnit and Boac river systems had been so significantly degraded as to be considered an environmental disaster.

* The acquatic life, productivity and beneficial use of the rivers for domestic and agicultural purposes are totally lost as a result of the physical process of sedimentation.

* The coastal bottom communities adjacent to the mouth of the Boac river are also significantly degraded as a direct result of smothering by the mine tailings.

* There is no evidence of acute poisoning in the exposed population due to the mine tailings.

* There is an increased health and safety risk due to the immersion and flooding as a result of the very large volume and physical properties of the mine tailings, should they be mobilized during the wet season; and

* Concentrations of trace metals in the mine tailings were not sufficiently high to represent an immediate toxicological threat. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Revisiting the Marinduque Mining Disaster
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.