Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. has reiterated the need for proper regulation of mining operations in Zambales province.
The governor stressed that mining companies operating in the province must comply with existing laws to maintain the efficiency and sustainability of the industry.
He issued the statement following the seizure of a shipment of nickel laterite ore mined in Candelaria town and bound for China by the Bureau of Customs for lack of an export permit and environmental compliance certificate (ECC).
Ebdane said he has long advocated for the cessation of illegal mining operations in Zambales, noting that when he first became governor in July 2010, his first action was to cancel all 110 small-scale and quarrying permits issued by the previous administration to pave the way for the strict implementation of environmental safeguards.
From 2010 to 2014, he also requested the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to move sizable nickel stockpiles left unattended to by mining companies to avoid potential catastrophe.
Some of these stockpiles, however, eventually inundated farm lots and fishponds in some parts of Sta. Cruz town during floods. He further stated that such incidents did not happen due to illegal mining operations but rather through irresponsible mining operations.
Ebdane said that as the elected governor, he has no authority or influence to make decisions regarding large-scale mining operations of national government agencies and instrumentalities.
But he emphasized that he expects businesses in Zambales to respect local authorities and regulations.