Masbate mining contamination text scare a hoax, says Police

AROROY, Masbate-- Residents of this town were alarmed yesterday after text messages circulated warning the public against consuming aquatic resources . Said products, the text messages caution, may have been tainted with mercury, after typhoon Rubi caused a spill in the mine's chemical reservoir. 

The text message reads:

PLS PASS Aroroy, Masbate has been severely hit by typhoon. The reservoir of chemicals used for refining old has overflowed to the river into the sea. People are advised not to consume fish and [other] aquatic resources because of mercury poisoning. 

Masbate Gold Project denies the veracity of the text message

Gene Gregorio, Communications Director of the mining firm Masbate Gold Project (MGP) has assailed the truthfulness of the message.

In an exclusive interview with BICOL STANDARD, Gregorio assured the public that typhoon Ruby did not pose a significant impact on mining operations.

MGP's official statement reads:

Typhoon Ruby had no significant impact on the Masbate Gold Project’s (MGP) operations when it passed over the province of Masbate and its outlying islands. Prior to the storm’s landfall, all safety precautions were taken to ensure the safety of personnel and neighboring communities. Equipment and supplies were safely stored ahead of time and personnel were placed in storm shelters.

Both, mining and processing operations were briefly halted as a safety measure. A report documenting MGP’s safe record during the typhoon will be submitted to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Preparations in the mine had been finalized earlier in last week in accordance with our established procedures and the Incident Management Team (IMT) continued to review the situation as the path of the storm became clear. The mine site is well prepared for such events with established emergency measures and typhoon shelters.

The same statement also expressed MGP's commitment to stand by to provide stands by to provide local assistance if required.

MGP stands by to provide local assistance if required.

Police probe reveal that chemical leak rumors are untrue
Meanwhile, Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) spokesperson Senior Inspector Malu Cabrador Calubaquib has confirmed that her desk has indeed received  several reports regarding said text messages. 

According to her, the municipal police station of this town has already conducted a probe to ascertain the truth of the viral message. 

Upon verification, PO1 Haidelyn Pimentel Arevalo of the Aroroy MPS came to the conclusion that: 

1) the report is baseless and maliciously [intended to] misinform the public in order to destroy the image and credibility of the Masbate Gold Project;

2) the have tailings pond was in good condition and there was no incident of overflowing, contrary to what was stated in the malicious message; and

3) the company never used mercury since they started their operation.

The Masbate Gold Project is currently the largest existing gold project in the Philippines.--BICOLSTANDARD.COM


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