Municipal board of Bayog sign updated resolution of support for TVIRD’s Balabag Project

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TVI RESOURCE Development (Phils.) (TVIRD) Inc., Canada-based TVI Pacific, Inc.’s local arm, said the host community of its upcoming gold-silver project in Zamboanga del Sur has renewed its support for the development of the mine.

In a Monday statement, the TVIRD said members of the municipal board of Bayog signed an updated resolution of support for TVIRD to develop resources under its Balabag Gold and Silver Project.

The recently signed Resolution No. 1330, S. 2017 “cites potential revenues for the municipality upon the development of gold and silver deposits in Barangays Dipili, Depore, Pulangbato and Dimalinao… It further cites the potential advantage that infrastructure projects might be introduced in the course of (the project),” TVIRD said.

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The Balabag project is one of the 75 pre-development mines whose permits were cancelled due to being located in or near a watershed.

The firm, along with other companies affected by the said order issued by former Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez, has argued that the Philippine Mining Law of 1995 specifically prohibits mining activities in “proclaimed watershed forest reserves,” among other critical protected areas, but did not make mention of watersheds or functional watersheds as a ban on such locations — both miners and academicians have argued — will be a ban on mining altogether as the Philippines is considered a watershed in itself.

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At present, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau is reviewing the said order along with others that Ms. Lopez issued, including the ban on the open-pit mining method, the P2-million trust fund requirement imposed on suspended mines, and the results of the controversial environmental audit it conducted for more than seven months.

The Balabag project was tagged by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines as one of the massive projects in the mining sector that may contribute to the estimated $20 billion to $30 billion worth of investments of mine projects in the pipeline. The project was initially expected to take off this year. — J.C. Lim

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