DENR: No violations found in mining ops on Eastern Samar island

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it did not find any violations from the mining and export operations in Eastern Samar’s Homonhon Island, which earlier caused a stir among local officials. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 18) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it did not find any violations from the mining and export operations in Eastern Samar’s Homonhon Island, which earlier caused a stir among local officials.

The operation, led by Techiron Resources, Inc., complied with quarantine requirements and the government’s order to allow export work to continue, the agency clarified in a statement.

Over public health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, on April 4, Governor Ben Evardone said he urged national government officials, including the police and coast guard, to stop the entry of a Chinese-manned vessel set to load 7,000 metric tons of chromite ore in Homonhon Island.

The DENR later suspended the company’s mining operations on the area to “make sure that everything is in order” but eventually lifted the measure.

“After thorough investigation and the mining company secured all the necessary quarantine certificates, the DENR had no choice but to lift the suspension,” said Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda said.

He maintained that the crew did not make contact with anyone from the island since the vessel was anchored 1.5 kilometers away. The DENR also denied that mining activities are being done in secret amid the Luzon-wide quarantine. Techiron's operations are still ongoing, it added.

The Inter-agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases earlier assured free movement for cargo shipments, despite the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon amid the spread of COVID-19.