ENVIRONMENTAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE CENTER, INC.                                                       Carlos P. Sayang Compoun...
both Philippine and Japanese water quality standards for metals such as chromium,manganese, and nickel [see table attached...
Friends of the Earth Japan                                                                                            2009...
Friends of the Earth Japan                                                                                           2009....
Friends of the Earth Japan                                                                                           2009....
Friends of the Earth Japan                                                                                        2009.12....
(Partial translation of the page 1 of reference by SSM)                                                                   ...
November 19, 2008MEMORANDUM      FOR:          DR. YOLANDA E. OLIVEROS                    Director IV, NCDPC              ...
resume operations on November 10, 2008 at 10 pm. In view of this, theundersigned decided to continue with the environmenta...
sampling event will serve as baseline/background ambient air monitoring levelsduring periods where the hydrometallurgical ...
Presence of Hexavalent Chromium in the Different Water Bodies Surrounding RTNMC ?
Presence of Hexavalent Chromium in the Different Water Bodies Surrounding RTNMC ?
Presence of Hexavalent Chromium in the Different Water Bodies Surrounding RTNMC ?
Presence of Hexavalent Chromium in the Different Water Bodies Surrounding RTNMC ?
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Presence of Hexavalent Chromium in the Different Water Bodies Surrounding RTNMC ?

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The testing done by the DOH did not include heavy metals, a by-product of the mining activities
of RTNMC and the processing done by the HPP. In July and October of 2009, Friends of the
Earth-Japan (FOE-J) conducted their own water sampling from various rivers and wells in the area surrounding the mine site and the HPP. FOE-J expanded the test criteria to include heavy
metals. These water samples were then sent to Japan for analysis. Tests conducted using
inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry show that while zinc and magnesium did not
exceed Japanese standards for water hardness, these metals were still found to be in such high
concentrations that they are considered abnormal.

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Presence of Hexavalent Chromium in the Different Water Bodies Surrounding RTNMC ?

  1. 1. ENVIRONMENTAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE CENTER, INC. Carlos P. Sayang Compound, Mitra Road, Bgy. Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City 5300 Palawan Telefax (048)433-5183; Tel No. (048)723-0241 12 May 2010 Dr. Esperanza I. Cabral ELAC-Cebu Secretary - Department of Health 354-P Betty Lu Compd. Queen’s Road, Cebu City San Lazaro Compound, Sta. Cruz, Manila 6000 Philippines Tel. (032) 253-3833 Telefax (032) 256-1495 Re: Rio Tuba Nickel Mines, Bataraza, Palawanelaccebu@mozcom.com Dear Secretary Cabral: We write with regard to Rio Tuba Nickel Mines Corporation (RTNMC) and Coral Bay Nickel ELAC-Leyte/Samar LF&V Fatima Bldg. Corporation’s (CBNC) Hydrometallurgical Processing Plant (HPP) which are operating in Real St., Tacloban City Bataraza, Palawan. Tel. (53) 325-8996 elac-tac@mozcom.com On November 9 and 10, 2008, the Palawan Provincial Health Office (PHO), together with representatives from the Department of Health (DOH), conducted a water sample collection and air sample analysis of the area where RTNMC and the HPP are located. While the results of the air quality monitoring would show that it falls within the standards set by the DENR (see ELAC-Bohol Memorandum dated November 19, 2008 attached hereto as Annex A), this test in inconclusive in 35 Miguel Parras St., Tagbilaran City terms of the effects of the HPP’s operations on the air quality in the area precisely because the Tel. (38) 235-4640 plant had been shut down for two days prior to the conduct of air quality monitoring. elac-bhl@mozcom.com With regard to the water sampling analysis, six water samples were submitted to the National Reference Laboratory, five taken from areas where the mine and the HPP are located, while a sixth sample was taken from commercially bottled water and served as a control sample for the testing. The results were disturbing, to say the least (report attached hereto as Annexes B to B12). All of the five water samples taken from Bataraza failed the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water. The analysis conducted showed that the water samples grossly exceeded standards for chloride, hardness, total dissolved solids, sulfate, fluoride, pH, and fecal coliform content. It has been over a year and the DOH has yet to present this report to the affected communities, the Palawan Council for Development Staff (PCSD), or in any other public forum. We believe that the results of the testing have to be made officially public considering the continuing health threats posed to the communities. The testing done by the DOH did not include heavy metals, a by-product of the mining activities of RTNMC and the processing done by the HPP. In July and October of 2009, Friends of the Earth-Japan (FOE-J) conducted their own water sampling from various rivers and wells in the area surrounding the mine site and the HPP. FOE-J expanded the test criteria to include heavy metals. These water samples were then sent to Japan for analysis. Tests conducted using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry show that while zinc and magnesium did not exceed Japanese standards for water hardness, these metals were still found to be in such high concentrations that they are considered abnormal. With regard to other toxic metals, a majority of the water samples collected grossly exceeded Helping Communities Defend the Earth Website: http://www.elac.org.ph
  2. 2. both Philippine and Japanese water quality standards for metals such as chromium,manganese, and nickel [see table attached hereto as Annex C, taken from The Bulanjao 2010 Geo-tagged Report on Mining Aggression in Core Zones and Ecologically Fragile Areas on Palawan Island (ThePhilippines) by ALDAW (Ancestral Land/Domain Watch) and the Centre for Biocultural Diversityof the University of Kent (UK), pp. 43-44,www.iapad.org/publications/ppgis/aldaw_bulanjao_2010_report.pdf].The mining and mineral ore processing being conducted by RTNMC and CBNC have contributedto the decline in potable sources of water for the communities where these companies are located.As tested by the FOE-J, nickel has been found to be in concentrations of more than 10 timesthe allowable content of Japanese water quality standards. Most alarming of all is thepresence of hexavalent chromium in the different water bodies surrounding RTNMC and theHPP, including what is supposed to be drinking water supplied to the communities by RTNMC.The areas where the water samples were collected are from rivers or aquifers which flowthrough or are adjacent to the mining site and the HPP. Hexavalent chromium at TogponRiver registered an alarming 72.7 and 126 for July and October 2009 respectively, way beyondwhat was estimated in their environmental impact statement. The presence of hexavalentchromium and nickel cannot be said to be naturally occurring in the amounts detected. It isobvious that there is a correlation between the operations of RTNMC and CBNC, and thepresence of these heavy metals in the rivers and aquifers surrounding their area.We hope that DOH can act more proactively in safeguarding the lives of the communities ofBataraza, Palawan. In light of the tests conducted by your Department and by the FOE-J, wewould like to request the following from your good office: 1) That the results of the tests conducted in November 2008 be formally presented to the affected communities and the PCSD, and that mitigating measures be established by the DOH to protect the health of the communities; 2) That a comprehensive study be conducted by the DOH, including follow-up testing in the same areas to determine any changes in water quality. The study should include testing for the presence of heavy metals in sites visited by both the DOH and FOE- J. It is imperative that residents who have complained about chronic conditions involving skin, respiratory and digestive illnesses should also be examined to determine the effects of the mine and the HPP to their health, including the presence of heavy metals in their bloodstreams. Air quality analysis should also be done while the plant is operating to determine if the HPP’s mitigating measures are sufficient; and, 3) That the results of such comprehensive study be made public at the soonest possible time.We are anticipating your prompt response to our request.Very truly yours,Atty. Edward G. LorenzoLegal Officer
  3. 3. Friends of the Earth Japan 2009.12.09 Summary of the meeting with Sumitomo Metal Mining and JBIC With Sumitomo : November 16, 2009 : 14:00-16:00 At Tokyo Office of Sumitomo Metal Mining With JBIC : November 17, 2009 : 14:00-15:00 At Tokyo Office of JBIC● The points FoE Japan stressed out to Sumitomo and JBIC in each meeting were;1. The possibility of contamination, especially by Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+ or Cr(VI)), inTogpon River due to the effluent from the Tailing dam2. The possibility of contamination of truck-delivery drinking water by RTNMC3. The double-standards policy adopted by Sumitomo or CBNC as a Japanese company (Lowerstandards are applied to this Project in the Philippines than Japanese standards), while the project hascomplied with the Philippines standards and laws4. The bad smell has been still continuing, depending the wind direction5. There should have been consultation with local communities first, if there was any change inSDMP, and there should be no threat to local leaders.● Sumitomo and JBICs answers to those above were;1. (Sumitomo)- The surface water of Tailing dam has discharged into the sea through the pipe, but not into theRiver.- But Sumitomo would consider providing some information to NGOs as much as possible, such asmaps and baseline data of water quality before the Project started, so that the contamination sourceof Cr(VI) in Togpon River would be identified.(JBIC)- It doesnt seem that Cr(VI) is produced naturally in the Togpon River, as far as we see any otherdata of Cr than Togpon.- Even though there is no effluent from Tailing dam into the River, there might be a leakage from theProject site. JBIC would confirm such points and whether there is any Cr(VI) to be produced in theprocess of HPP or not.- JBIC would also confirm the places, methods and results of monitoring by the proponents, andwould consider disclosing those information to NGOs, if possible.
  4. 4. Friends of the Earth Japan 2009.12.09- JBIC would confirm how the proponents did EIA and other investigation around the project sitebefore the project commencement. (confirming if there is any baseline data as well)2. (Sumitomo)- The source of delivery water would be from the deep-well. But Sumitomo will confirm it againwith RTNMC and will tell NGOs about it later.(JBIC)- JBIC will confirm the source of delivery water again and also whether there is any problem aboutthe way to deliver the water, such as trucks etc...3. (Sumitomo)- The Project still complies with the Philippine Environmental Standards. But Sumitomo willconfirm why the target set by itself in EIS has been at such level, and will tell NGOs about thereason later.- Sumitomo used to have a position that projects should comply with only local standards, but wouldlike to make efforts now not to adopt "doble-standards", considering the international standards.(JBIC)- JBIC will confirm why the target set by Sumitomo in EIS has been at such lower level.4. (Sumitomo)- Basically, bad smell cannot come out of the HPPs. But because there was a report from a JapaneseNGO about bad smell outside the HPPs, CBNC has installed a scrubber at the HPP1 this year.Another scrubber will be installed at the HPP2 next year due to the budget. (CBNC is now coveringthe portion with blue sheet at HPP2.)- The source of bad smell might be the roots of plants contained in low latelite ore that has been leftfor a long time. Such roots would be heated and might come out smell, but it is still not sure.(JBIC)- The scrubber has been installed at HPP1. The same will be installed at HPP2 in 2010 due to thebudget.5. (Sumitomo)- The budget for SDMP implementation has been delayed due to depression. More budget will beallotted for 2010.- The consultation should be held, if any change. Sumitomo will confirm it.(JBIC)- JBIC will tell the proponents to consult with local communities appropriately, and also tell them
  5. 5. Friends of the Earth Japan 2009.12.09about the importance of the special consideration on the threat to the local people. Summary of the meeting with Sumitomo Metal Mining With Sumitomo : December 9, 2009 : 13:30-14:45 At Tokyo Office of FoE-Japan● Sumitomo’s additional explanation were; Effluent from Tailing dam ● In terms of toxic materials, the Project has complied with the Philippine Standards for effluent. Please see the table of No. 2 in the reference. (The outlet of effluent from the plant means the outlet of pipeline in the sea.) ● As overflow from the tailing dam happens in the rainy season, it is not necessarily said that 100 percent of effluent from the tailing dam would be released only through the pipeline. However, there is no problem arisen from such overflow, since the surface water of the Tailing dam has complied with the Philippine Standards. ● Cr(III) subsides in the water, while Cr(IV) doesn’t subside but is aqueous. Therefore, even though the sedimentation in the tailing dam would be overflowed, it is not Cr(IV) but Cr(III). Analysis results on Cr(IV) ● In terms of Cr(IV), Please see the tables of No. 1 and 2 in the reference. The maximum amount found in the analysis by the company itself was 0.05 mg/L and also the maximum amount found by the MMT was 0.04mg/L, both of which comply with the Philippines Standards (0.2 mg/L). (The outlet of effluent from the plant means the outlet of pipeline in the sea.) Monitoring system ● The Environment Technical Division of CBNC conducts the regular monitoring of the surface water in the tailing dam and the effluent from the tailing dam at the outlet of pipeline in the sea, twice a month. Those results are reported quarterly to EMB. Delivery drinking water by truck ● The company currently takes the delivery water in the upstream of Ocayan River. ● There is an annual analysis and report on the delivery water. Please see the in the reference.
  6. 6. Friends of the Earth Japan 2009.12.09*FoE-Japan asked Sumitomo to confirm again if the water supplied through the pipe in RioTuba is the same as the drinking water delivered by the truck, or not. Comparison with Japanese Standards ● For example, the Japanese Standards for Nickel only applies for the drinking water, but neither for the industrial water nor the effluent. Therefore, it is not necessarily comparable. (It is not said that lower standards are applied to this Project in the Philippines than Japanese standards.) Others ● Sumitomo is still collecting some information and data, such as the baseline data of water quality surrounding the Project site (the data before the Project started).
  7. 7. (Partial translation of the page 1 of reference by SSM) Reference 2009.12.9To: FoE Japan Sumitomo Metal Mining Corp.The followings are the results of water quality analyses on the effluent from the Plant by the CBNC.1. Results of Analysis on Cr at the outlet of effluent from the plant (the outlet of pipeline in the sea) Super-natant Cr6+ mg/l Also, the followings are the sampling results by MMT. Super-natant Cr6+ mg/l2. Results of Analysis on heavy metals etc. at the outlet of effluent from the plant (the outlet of pipeline in the sea) Unit mg/l Philippines Standards World Bank for effluent Standards for effluent* Results of Analysis is about total Cr, but the Philippines Standards shows about Cr6+
  8. 8. November 19, 2008MEMORANDUM FOR: DR. YOLANDA E. OLIVEROS Director IV, NCDPC DR. GLORIA BALBOA OIC- CHD-MIMAROPA FROM: Engr. Ana Trinidad F. Rivera SHPO, EOHO-NCDPC SUBJECT: Environmental Health Assessment conducted at Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan from November 9-11, 2008.Background Information: The undersigned proceeded to Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan to conduct arapid environmental health assessment for possible nickel and other chemicalcontamination in selected communities during the aforementioned dates. Thisactivity was undertaken upon the request of the Provincial Health Office and theCHD 4B- MIMAROPA Office brought about by the repeatedcomplaints/outbreaks of skin lesions which was attributed to the operation of thehydrometallurgical plant of the Coral Bay Nickel Corporations. Previousinvestigations showed hygiene and sanitation as possible factors for the skinailments. However, monitoring for possible chemical exposures was alsorecommended in the previous health investigations undertaken. A local NGO,Palawan Network of NGO Inc, (PNNI) also requested that this activity beundertaken in the area because of repeated complaints of foul “rotten egg” odorfrom the emissions coming from the plant operations.The Provincial Health Office coordinated all the activities with the localgovernment units, PNNI and CBNC. However, during a courtesy call with theBarangay Officials on November 09, 2008, we were informed that the plant shut-down its operations for preventive maintenance on November 07, 2008 and will
  9. 9. resume operations on November 10, 2008 at 10 pm. In view of this, theundersigned decided to continue with the environmental health assessment byconducting water sampling as well as ambient air monitoring for carbon dioxide,sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and lower explosive limit using the RAE multigasmonitor which is a direct reading instrument. Data from the air monitoring willserve as baseline data for the communities, and will be compared with themonitoring results that will be obtained when the plant will be in operation. Thisactivity will be conducted at a later date.The undersigned explained in detail the process of water sampling collection andair monitoring to the barangay officials, local NGO and a representative from thecompany. Each water sample collected were processed according to standardprotocol which included proper sealing of the sample. A chain of custody formwas also completed.Drinking and surface water samples were collected from six sites with a seventhsample collected as a blank sample. Samples were collected from barangayswhose community residents had a previous history of skin lesions andrespiratory complaints. (Table 1). Most of water sampling sites were notchlorinated due to complaints of smell and taste of residual chlorine among theindigenous groups. Sampling done at the loading area of CBNC was undertakenduring the time when loading operations of sulfuric acid was on-going. Sampleswere submitted to the National Reference Laboratory at East Avenue MedicalCenter for physical, chemical, microbiological and metal analysis. Results of theanalysis will be released in 2-3 weeks.Table 1: Water sampling Sites, Rio Tuba, Bataraza, PalawanWater SamplingRio Tuba, BatarazaNovember 9-10, 2008 DATE/TIME ADDRESS OF SAMPLINGSN COLLECTED SOURCE SAMPLING POINT PT. REMARKS Coastal area, 1 11-10-08; 8:40 am Surface water Tagdalungon Tagdalungon high tide well area, Sitio washing/bathing,nr 2 11-10-08; 8:55 am well water Sitio Tagdalungon Tagdalngon cemetery water(piped- Coast Guard 3 11-10-08; 9:20 am in) Marabuhay Stn,Marabuhay supplied by CBNC supplied by CBNC, IP 4 11-10-08; 10:50 am brook(dam) Buoy Buoy (non-chlorinated) area pump (deep 5 11-10-08; 11:40 am well) Tagpisa Bgy Ocayan Loading area- 6 11-10-08; 2:10 pm Surface water CBNC CBNC 7 11-10-08; 2:20 pm drinking water Rio Tuba Rio TubaInitial air sampling results showed ambient air levels of NO2, SO2 and CO to bewithin the prescribed DENR-EMB standards (Table 2). Data generated from this
  10. 10. sampling event will serve as baseline/background ambient air monitoring levelsduring periods where the hydrometallurgical plant is not in operation. Theselevels will eventually be compared with levels to be obtained during actual plantoperations,Table 2: Results of the Ambient Air Monitoring for SO2, NO2, CO and LEL, RioTuba, Bataraza, PalawanAir SamplingRio Tuba, BatarazaNovember 9-10, 2008 Range DATE AND TIME ADDRESS OF SAMPLINGSN COLLECTED PT. NO2 SO2 CO LEL REMARKS clear 1 11-09-08; 6:45 pm Anaconda 0 -0.2 0 0 0 weather clear 2 11-09-08; 6:55 pm Mahogany 0 - 0.1 0 0 0 weather o 3 11-10-08;9:00 am Sitio Tagdalungon 0 - 0.1 0 0 0 86 F o 4 11-10-08;9:25 am Marabuhay 0 0 0 0 90 F o 5 11-10-08;10:55 am Buoy 0 0 0 0 93 F o 6 11-10-08;11:50 am Tagpisa, Ocayan 0 0 -0.1 0 0 95 F o 7 11-10-08; 2:00 pm Loading area 0 0 0 0 95 F * Note: shutdown of plant operations during ambient air monitoring measurementRecommendations: 1. Conduct of the ambient air monitoring during actual operations of the plant. 2. Conduct health education campaigns on health, sanitation and hygiene among the local indigenous communities. 3. Consider alternatives to drinking water sources or in the relocation of the cemetery of the local Muslim communities through dialogues with community leaders, taking into consideration their cultural beliefs and traditions. 4. Continuing medical surveillance among the communities surrounding the HPP plant. There is a need to document the health complaints among the residents in the area. 5. Analyze environmental data and look into the possibility of the conduct of an epidemiological study to determine potential heath impact of exposure to chemicals among community residents.For information and guidance.

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