MANILA -- Quarrying operations in the country that remain suspended may take longer to resume, as interventions from concerned parties are needed to ensure these will not affect the safety of nearby communities.

“It’s possible for the duration of the work involved to go beyond the end of (the) 15-day suspension period,” mining tenements engineer at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Wendy Talento, said after Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu announced the lifting of the suspension on most quarrying operations on Thursday afternoon. 

Cimatu imposed a 15-day suspension of quarrying operations nationwide on Sept. 21, a day after the landslide in Naga City, Cebu province that killed more than 50 people. 

Naga residents were blaming the quarrying operations in the city for the landslide.  

Allowed to resume were quarrying operations that the MGB deemed safe for nearby communities. Quarrying is the digging of pits to extract stones and other materials from underground.

Talento said stakeholders running the still suspended quarries might have to do some interventions to ensure the safety of nearby communities.

The MGB also needs time to assess such work to determine if the agency would recommend the lifting of the quarrying suspension, she added.

Cimatu had ordered the suspension of quarrying operations in Regions 1 (Ilocos), 3 (Central Luzon), 4-A (Calabarzon), 5 (Bicol), 7 (Central Visayas), 10 (Northern Mindanao), 11 (Davao), and 13 (Caraga).

The suspension was for the government to assess the danger these quarries pose on nearby communities.

Allowed to resume operations are Holcim Mining and Development Corp., Northern Cement Corp., heirs of Elias Olegario, and 19 holders of industrial sand and gravel (ISAG) permits in the Ilocos region; Holcim Mining and Development Corp., Republic Cement, Eagle Cement, and six ISAG permit holders in Central Luzon; Republic Cement and Lafarge Holcim Aggregates Corp. in Calabarzon; Orophil Stonecraft Corp. in Bicol; Holcim Resources and Development Corp. in Northern Mindanao; and Holcim Mining and Development Corp. in Davao.

"That's the partial list of quarrying operations with lifted suspension," MGB Acting Director Wilfredo Moncano said.

The environment department will update the list once investigations into the still suspended quarrying operations find these safe, Moncano added. (PNA)