Vice Gov Pimentel gives ultimatum to RTG-MLEDC: Lumayas na kaya kayo?
The Provincial Council of Camarines Norte headed by Vice Governor Jonah Pimentel has essentially told RTG Mining and Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation (MLEDC) to clean up their act, or pack up and leave.
This, after top officials of the mining partners, specifically RTG Chairman Michael Carrick and MLEDC Director Johan Raadsma, snubbed a Council hearing last May 10 that was supposed to tackle safety issues regarding its mining operations on the Venida Pit.
Venice Pit is an abandoned open pit mine that continues to endanger residents of Napaod in the town of Labo. This is because the pit has an unsecured perimeter, thus there is a constant threat of landslides and flooding.
Sent to the hearing by the mining officials was MLEDC Project Manager Iart Ranin, who reportedly irked Pimentel and the Council members when he said that RTG-MLEDC did not recognize the politikos “because they lacked the technical knowhow.”
Ranin went as far as to tell one of the members to “back off” from the RTG-MLEDC joint venture agreement.
This prompted Pimentel to put his foot down and tell Ranin to “do their business somewhere else” if the mining entities did not want to be regulated by the provincial government.
It was revealed in the hearing that it was RTG that gave consent to the small scale mining operations in Venida Pit and that they have failed to monitor and control the activities there.
“For over four years, RTG management has been skirting its responsibilities to correct the mistakes of the small scale operations,” a Provincial Council member said.
As early as 2013, the Council and the Mines and Geoscience Bureau has made separate orders to MLEDC to implement mitigating measures on the pit, which is covered by its exploration permit. Both orders were ignored.