THE Supreme Court (SC) upheld the Court of Appeals’ resolution favoring gold miner Filminera Resources Corp. in a case filed by Ang Aroroy ay Alagaan, Inc. against it for allegedly harming the environment. The group had petitioned for an environmental protection order of Writ of Kalikasan against Filminera.
A statement released by Filminera on Thursday evening said that the SC’s en banc decision upheld the Court of Appeals’ finding that Ang Aroroy failed to provide sufficient evidence that Filminera’s operations in Arroyo and Baleno, Masbate contaminated water in the area.
Filminera president Cris G. Acosta in the same statement said the company has “always upheld best practices in environmental stewardship in all our mining operations.”
“We will continue to do so as part of our commitment to our host communities and the people of Aroroy,” he added.
“There was no proof that [Filminera] violated any law […] which would violate or threaten to violate the constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology that involves or will lead to an environmental damage,” the statement quoted the SC resolution as saying.
Ang Aroroy had accused Filminera of contaminating water that lead to an increase in the cadmium, cyanide, lead and mercury levels in milkfish and shrimp. However, the Court of Appeals found that the levels of these elements were lower than the minimum detection limit. Studies also noted that the “mercury in the water was already present before Filminera commenced operations.” The death of crabs and shrimps that had been pinned on Filminera turned out to have been caused by white spot syndrome virus, according to the statement.
Witnesses presented by Ang Aroroy admitted to have used cyanide and mercury in their small-scale mining operations.
“The test of the water and sediment samples clearly pointed to the small-scale miners, and not the mining firm [Filminera],” the Appellate Court was quoted as saying in the firm’s statement.
The court also found the mining firm’s Environmental Clearance Certificate was valid.
The SC En Banc issued the resolution on April 24.