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Mudslide Strikes Surigao Mine: Early Evacuation Averts Disaster

Mudslide

A devastating mudslide, triggered by a portion of a tailings storage facility collapsing, shook the mining village of Siana in Mainit town, Surigao del Norte. The incident occurred at approximately 5 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, compelling 55 families to flee for safety.

The Culprit: Tailings Storage Facility Collapse

According to Inquirer.net, the collapse of the embankment of Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) 3, operated by Greenstone Resources Corp. (GRC), was attributed to recent earthquakes and persistent heavy rains. GRC, responsible for the Siana Gold project, emphasized that the catastrophe was exacerbated by seismic activity and inclement weather.

Moreover. the swift action of local authorities and GRC personnel prevented casualties. Upon detecting cracks on Siana Barangay Road and the TSF 3 embankment, residents were promptly evacuated. They were relocated to municipal gyms in Tubod and Mainit for safety. Evacuation efforts proved effective as no fatalities were recorded despite the chaos.

Responding to the disaster, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) dispatched a team from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to probe the incident’s causes and assess the aftermath. Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga emphasized the need for stringent oversight in the mining sector to mitigate risks and uphold safety standards.

History of Concerns

This isn’t the first instance of scrutiny regarding GRC’s infrastructure. In 2013, operations at the Siana Gold Project were halted due to a crack in TSF 4’s embankment. While GRC implemented remedial measures, including constructing a new tailings storage facility, questions persist about the integrity of their operations.

Furthermore, amid the environmental and human toll of such disasters, Loyzaga stressed the imperative for sustainable mining practices. The DENR aims to enhance monitoring, regulation, and oversight to prevent future incidents. This underscores the need for responsible resource extraction aligned with environmental preservation.

Read Also: Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake Hits Leyte; 2 Injured

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