Apex Mining reiterates Barangay Masara landslide caused by forces of nature

Its stand affirmed by the pronouncement of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau 11 (MGB 11) that the deathly Masara landslide was caused by natural factors, Apex Mining stood by their word their mining operations have nothing to do with the disaster.

MGB 11 earlier said the landslide in Zone 1 Barangay Masara, Maco, Davao de Oro on February 6, 2024, was caused by natural factors and not by Apex Mining’s operations.

This developed after environmentalists called on authorities to hold Apex Mining accountable for the tragedy.

Last week, environment watchdog Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS), Inc. said Apex Mining Co., Inc. and some government agencies should be held accountable for the Masara landslide and emphasized that the landslide has raised significant concerns about the safety and environmental consequences of mining operations in the area.

“As has been reiterated by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the landslide was caused by natural factors. Brgy. Masara in Maco has been our home for more than 50 years now and we have been through many ups and downs. If these inquiries will help Maco then we welcome them,” Apex Mining Co. said in a statement.

Geologists for MGB 11 on Monday bared that the incessant rains and the presence of fault lines in Davao de Oro could be among the major contributory factors for the deadly Masara landslide.

“It was rain-induced. Grabe gyud ang ulan which is also the triggering mechanism. Next is the previous occurrences of earthquakes which are among the significant factors, steep ang terrain, weak ang geology due to materials nga naa sa area, because of the Philippine fault zone nga nitagos sa Davao de Oro area so it is expected nga kana nga province daghan ug landslides ug puwede pa magkaroon ug mga landslides. Naa pud ta mga fault lines nga nagapa-weaken sa geology sa area,” said Capter John Tubo, supervising geologist for MGB 11.

Following the landslide, Apex Mining stated in an official statement that the area where the landslide happened is outside the mine operations area of the company but is used as a vehicle terminal for buses and jeepneys servicing the employees, its service providers, and members of the community.

It also said that the landslide is about 500 meters away from the company gate.

Apex Mining also stated that it is operating at a limited capacity due to limited access at the company site to service its incoming employees, deliveries of supplies, and other service supports.

“Personnel from safety, security, community relations, general services, geologists, and heavy equipment machine operators were deployed and continue to assist in the search, retrieval, rescue, and relief operations. The power supply is continued uninterrupted at the mining site to maintain the necessary ventilation and dewatering of the active underground tunnels where our limited manpower operates. Ore stockpiles mined in the previous days are being milled,” it said.

It also stated that from February 7 to the present, the milling activities are reduced within the range of 50 percent to 80 percent.

“Shipment and sale of metal products produced in January were completed before the landslide occurred. It is expected that a lower volume of gold and silver ounces will be produced and sold in the following shipment due to the limited operations,” it said.

Apex Mining said it is now fully focused on supporting the disaster relief and the search, rescue, and retrieval operations led by the provincial government of Davao de Oro.

“We take care of our employees who have been affected by the landslide, going beyond what government requires. While Maco Mayor Arthur Carlos Voltaire Rimando has officially declared the ongoing operations at the ground zero of the landslide as search and retrieval, Apex Mining remains committed to helping bring closure to those who are still searching for their loved ones,” Apex Mining said.

The company also stated that its rescue equipment, manpower, and other resources have been fully focused on supporting the provincial government’s management of the tragic incident.

The company also set up an Apex Welfare Desk Helpline at the Nuevo Iloco National High School in Mawab (Davao de Oro) and it continues to assist the affected residents by helping them get information on their missing loved ones.

The company also organized a medical mission in all the evacuation centers (Nuevo Iloco Elementary School, Nuevo Iloco National HS, Nueva Barangay Gym, Andili National HS, ICQP Elizalde ES, Elizalde, EC Patatag, Lorenzo High School, Biucadan Tribal Hall, Assembly of God, Andili and Mawab Central) from February 12 to 16, 2024.

The Hiraya-Diwa Psychological Services, in partnership with the Tagum Doctors College, will also provide debriefing and counseling services to the community residents on February 24 and 25, 2024 while the session with Apex Mining employees was conducted on February 16, 2024.

Apex Mining stated that since the landslide, it has been providing food packs, drinking water, and medical services to the affected communities.

Based on the initial report (names for validation) from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) Maco, as of Sunday evening, February 18, 2024, 98 bodies have been recovered and a total of eight individuals are still missing.

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