APO LAND and Quarry Corp. (ALQC) said on Friday it is allowing geologists and experts to conduct independent investigation of the landslide in Naga, Cebu, a day after Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the company’s quarry operations will remain suspended.
“The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) already conducted its independent study of the landslide and its probable causes… In this light, ALQC is also allowing a team of third-party geologists and subject-matter experts to conduct an independent study of the landslide and its probable causes,” the company said in a statement.
On late Thursday, Mr. Cimatu lifted the suspension on “90 percent” of quarrying operations in the country, but the ban remains in several areas including Naga, Cebu.
Companies allowed to resume operations include Holcim Mining and Development Corp, Northern Cement Corp, Heirs of Elias E. Olegano, Republic Cement, Eagle Cement, Lafarge Holcim Aggregates Corp, and Orophil Stonecraft Corp.
“90% of quarry sites nationwide will resume operations, provided that these areas are 1 kilometer away from the communities that can be potentially affected,” noting that there are no communities around these quarrying sites in case a landslide would occur,” Mr. Cimatu has said.
The DENR had imposed a 15-day quarrying ban in eight regions last Sept. 21, following a landslide in Naga which left 65 people dead, while 21 are missing and 18 others are injured.
ALQC is an wholly-owned entity by Impact Assets Corporation wherein Cemex Holdings Philippines (CHP) holds 40% equity.
CHP on Thursday issued a statement to clarify the impact of the suspension of quarrying operations of the principal raw material suppliers to its subsidiaries operating in Naga City and Antipolo City.
“APO Cement Corporation and Solid Cement Corporation continue to operate their respective cement plants, and are implementing various measures designed to maintain availability of products to its customers,” CHP said.
Meanwhile, in a statement sent to BusinessWorld, Holcim Philippines Inc, said that it “welcomes the DENR’s prompt decision to lift the mining and quarrying ban on companies found to be compliant with regulations related to safety and environment.”
“We are glad that the companies that provide Holcim Philippines (Holcim Mining & Development Corp) with raw materials have been allowed to resume normal operations, which is basic to our company’s ability to support the market’s demand for a stable cement supply at this time of strong construction activity,” the company said.
On Friday, Cemex shares closed 3.48% or 8 centavos higher at P2.38 each, while Holcim Philippines shares rose 1.17% to close at P6.92 each. — Reicelene Joy N.Ignacio