TVI RESOURCE Development (Philippines), Inc., a unit of Toronto-listed TVI Pacific, Inc., said its operations will help clean up a river in Zamboanga del Sur polluted by illegal miners.

Residents of Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur have claimed that over a decade of illegal mining in the area left the Dipili River contaminated by cyanide and nitric acid, which the operators of small-scale mines used to extract gold from ore. This led to a halt on fishing in the river.

In October 2012, through a cease and desist order, the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources put a stop to illegal mining.

TVIRD has since set up its gold and silver Balabag project.

“TVI Resource Development (Philippines), Inc., is primed to replace illegal mining operations as it has both legal permits and the social license to mine the area. More importantly, it plans to conduct an environmental cleanup once it brings operations on-stream,” read the firm’s statement on Tuesday.

“The company will establish a tailings dam for waste materials storage through a catchment area — and not thrown into the tributaries like in years past,” it added.

In addition, the firm said it will help farmers to develop crops like rubber, cacao or coffee to further boost their income.

The Balabag project, initially expected to operate this year, has been tagged by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines as one of the biggest projects in the mining sector that may contribute to the estimated $20 billion to $30 billion worth of investment over the next decade. — Janina C. Lim