Police authorities are eyeing extortion behind a grenade explosion on Monday evening in front of an office of a mining firm based in Kiamba town in
. Sarangani Province
Senior Inspector Luis Pedrio, Kiamba police chief, said Tuesday the explosion occurred at around 7 p.m. inside the compound of the Kiamba Mining Corporation (KMC) located along
in Barangay Poblacion.
Citing accounts from several witnesses, he said the grenade was hurled by one of two unidentified motorcycle-riding suspects who passed by the area.
Pedrio said investigators recovered from the scene the pin of the hand grenade that was lobbed by the suspects.
He said no one was hurt and no major damages were reported as a result of the attack, which came about two weeks after the company received an extortion letter from an undisclosed group.
He said they are currently digging deeper into the extortion angle but said they are not also discounting other possible motives.
Several local groups have been opposing the operations of KMC and moves for the conversion of portions of the area’s public forest/ancestral lands/watershed” into mining areas.
In June 2010, the government issued a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) to the Cebu City-based Hard Rock Mineral Trading Inc. for a mining area covering 8,331 hectares in Kiamba towm.
MPSA-350-10-XII, which will expire in 2035, specifically noted deposits of gold, silver and iron within the identified tenement area.
The Coalition of Organizations to Save Kiamba Rainforest and the Natives Organization Worldwide opposed the proposed mining operations in the area, stressing it would eventually destroy the area’s rainforests and watersheds.