Emergency back-up fuel supply
The Didipio Mine has an advanced underground de-watering system (pumping station) that safely removes groundwater. The system requires constant power to continue operating.
If the power supply at the mine is disrupted and there are not sufficient diesel reserves on hand to generate back-up power, the underground pumping station will not operate, and the underground mine will flood. If the underground mine floods there is a significant risk of environmental damage and also the material loss of existing underground infrastructure.
As a result of the unlawful blockade preventing backup fuel from being delivered, the diesel supply at Didipio reached a critically low point.
Since July 2019, we have been coordinating with the various national government agencies to have emergency fuel delivered to the Didipio mine. There had been four previous attempts to have fuel delivered where there was peaceful engagements and discussions with community leaders and members.
Despite approval for the fuel delivery being issued from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and the Office of the President, an order from the Department of Interior and Local Government to dismantle the unlawful barricade, a small group of individuals has refused to acknowledge the urgent need for the diesel delivery for the safety of the community and environment, and the authority of the Government on the matter.
On Monday April 6, 2020, approximately 100,000 liters of emergency back-up diesel, contained in three fuel tankers, was delivered to the Didipio Mine.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) assisted in the delivery of fuel to ensure the trucks were not stopped at checkpoints, in accordance with the approval and directives of national Government agencies.
Prior to the delivery the Provincial Director of the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Police Office engaged with the Nueva Vizcaya Governor, who approved the passage of the fuel tank trucks on certain conditions, including allowing the barangay to monitor the usage of fuel and prohibiting us from dispensing fuel without the presence of barangay officials.
Before the tankers arrived in Didipio, the Chief of Police of Kasibu had a dialogue with Didipio Barangay Captain Ereneo Bobola and Kagawad Celia Bahag, who agreed to the delivery on the grounds it had been approved by the Governor of Nueva Vizcaya and Mayor of Kasibu.
We appreciate the professionalism and patience with which the PNP personnel handled the delivery of the fuel and are pleased the Office of the President and other Government agencies recognize the Didipio Mine as a valuable national asset worth protecting, and that they support the delivery of the fuel.
The local interpretation of enhanced community quarantine measures in response to COVID-19 has also hampered the movement of goods and services essential to protecting the mine from a significant flooding event.