Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (PNE) has opposed the large-scale mining project of Australian-Canadian firm MRL Gold-Egerton Gold Philippines, citing that the project could impact marine biodiversity.

In a statement submitted to the Kalikasan Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the environmental group said the mining company’s large-scale operations in Lobo will also affect the Verde Island Passage.

Kalikasan PNE’s national coordinator Clementine Bautista said: "The Aquino government and its local counterpart in Batangas are both out of their minds in allowing the Egerton large-scale mining project to push through in the municipality of Lobo."

"Environmental compliance certificates issued by EMB prevent the foreign firms from operating locally."

Local church leaders, fishing organisations and other environmental groups joined PNE’s protest to bring it to the notice of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

Environmental compliance certificates issued by EMB prevent the foreign firms from operating locally.

The Egerton gold project will use open-pit mining technology, which will allegedly produce and dump mine waste into the Lobo River that will reach the waters of the Verde Island Passage.

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The project is also claimed to cause harm to the existing marine conservation areas in Lobo municipality, as well as affect the food security of local residents.

MRL Gold Philippines and its affiliate Egerton Gold Philippines secured mining exploration permit from the DENR in October 2006.