November 24, 2020

Philippines to shut some mines after landslide

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government on Friday ordered the shutdown of gold-mining tunnels threatened by landslides in a southern town where a chunk of a mountain tumbled down on sleeping residents, killing at least 27 people.

The landslide struck hours before dawn Thursday on a mountain dotted with mine shafts and crude shanties with corrugated metal roofs in Napnapan village in Compostela Valley province.

It was the area’s second deadly landslide in a year — 20 people were killed in a neighboring village last April — and prompted the environment secretary to call for curbing permits in the region’s small-scale gold-mining industry.

Authorities in Pantukan township, where Napnapan village is located, expect to complete a survey next week that will indicate where landslides are likely to happen. Mines that sit in the danger zone will be ordered shut, and the workers and their families living on the mountain will be relocated, said Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Robredo, who flew over the village in a military helicopter Friday, also ordered that gold ore processing be moved from Napnapan village to the town center so that the miners’ families don’t have to live with them near the mines.

“It will be more expensive, but it will be more safe,” he said. “I am sure there will be resistance — that’s why this will be enforced by the armed forces and the police.”


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