Citinickel completes Palawan river cleanup

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Citinickel Mines and Development Corp. has completed the rehabilitation of the Pinagduguan River and the farm areas affected by the waste spill in southern Palawan, a company official said.

“We found out that our system should be strengthened so that this incident would not happen again,” said Ferdinand Pallera, president of Citinickel.

Citinickel, a mining unit of listed firm Oriental Peninsula Resources Group Inc., operates a 768-hectare property in Narra, Palawan. It received a notice of violation from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) due to the reported spill of its silt pond in Barangay (village) San Isidro on Nov. 25, 2012.

In its reply, CMDC told the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) that the spill took place when a foreman excavated a canal and diverted the flow of silt-laden water from a CMDC pond.

The water with silt then flowed into the Pinagduguan River and six farmlands, as well as a nearby fish pond.

The MGB has instructed Citinickel to pay the farmers the damages affected by the incident. The DENZR is also conducting a review of Citinickel’s operations.

The official also said that the spill on Nov. 25 was an error made by just one person.

Immediately after the incident, Citinickel voluntarily suspended its mining operations for 15 days while it “vacuumed” the sediments that spilled into the river and farmlands.

“We regret the incident. There have been delays in farming in the affected area so it should be our obligation to pay for the damages. We would never turn our back on them,” Pallera said.

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