Tuesday, August 28, 2007

THE STORY OF ACOJE

AS TOLD BY O.X. OSBORN SEPTEMBER 29, 1955

The Acoje Mining Company was organized in 1935 to take over and operate the present group of claims, located in the municipality of Santa Cruz, Province of Zambales Philippines Islands. These claims were located by a group of prospectors during the big mining Boom that existed in the Islands just previous date.

The name of the company was made up from the names of three ladies who largely financed the original venture – A from Aurora, Mrs. Aurora Quezon, CO from Consuelo, Mrs. Consuelo Cuyugan, JE from Jesusa, Mrs. Jesusa Arroyo.

The original capital of the company was one million pesos, divided into Ten Million shares, of a par value of ten centavos each. Of this amount five hundred thousand pesos in stock was issued to the original locators and claim owners in payment for the property, from hundred thousand pesos worth of stock was sold at par, this being the working capital of the company, and one hundred thousand pesos worth of stock remained in the treasury, to be sold at some future time. Apart from current bank loans, previous to the outbreak of the war, this was the only cash capital invested by the company.

From the start of operations, the company was very successful. The first work was done by the Marsman Company, working under a management contract, which however did not prove satisfactory, and the management and active operation was taken over by the Acoje Company. In 1936, the ore reserves were estimated at 150,700 tons and in July 1941, Mr. Lathan, the Gen. Manager at that time, reported ore reserved of five hundred thousand tons. The company balance sheet as of December 1941 showed assets of P6, 766, 121.94 with current liabilities of only P 2, 616, 009.30, so that the actual net worth of the company as P4,150,112.64 at that time.



During the period from April 1937 up to October 1941, the company had mined 292,023 tons of ore. It had built up a very substantial mining camp, with warehouse, machine shop and small electric power plant, houses for the employees, saw mill, assay laboratory and other necessary buildings and had secured trucks, bulldozers and heavy equipment and other machinery necessary to operate the mine, and had constructed several kilometers of very good roads. It had also constructed a pier and large cement storage tanks at its terminal and installed necessary facilities to load out ships quickly.

In addition to the ore mined and shipped, it accumulate over fifty thousand tons of ore, which was stored at the terminal and should have been shipped just before the Japanese invasion, but the company was unable to obtain shipping at that time. During the war, the Japanese tried to ship this to Japan. Much of it was probably lost with ships destroyed by American Submarines.

In the summer and fall of 1941 the company started to erect a large mill to concentrate low grade ore, of which they had developed a large tonnage. During the war itself, the Japanese operated the mine and probably mined and shipped at least a hundred thousand tons of ore. When they let after Liberation, several of the main buildings were burned down and the Powder Magazine was blown up and the concussion destroyed the house of the General Manager. Soon after Liberation several of the staff members were able to return to the mine and make an effort to repair the damage done during the war, but this process was slow swing to the difficulty of obtaining necessary supplies. However, the company was able to resume operations on a smaller scale than at the start of the war and also started to complete the Mill and get it in operation.


On the evening of March 26th 1951, at about 8pm there was a sudden outbreak of gunfire on a large scale. A force of some 200 Huks had made a surprise attack on the house of the Mine Manager. Several people in camp were able to escape into the dense forest that surrounds the Camp. Mr. Shaner, the Mine Manager, fought off the Huks until he had used up about 500 rounds of ammunition then was able to get away a short distance from the house. After he stopped firing and had left the house, the Huks entered it and set it on fire. They also burned several other buildings, but fortunately did not destroy the Mill.
Shortly after the Huk attack, they struck again. This time with a small party that ambushed the Acoje Service truck, a bus that carries passengers between the town of Sta. Cruz and the mine.

The truck was loaded with about forty passengers, mostly women and children that were returning to the mine after marketing in Sta. Cruz. After the first outburst of gun fire, about ten of the passengers were able to escape. The Huks, however, continued to fire into the bus, killing many people outright and wounding the others. They then approached the car and meeting with no resistance, they drained the gasoline in the truck tank, poured this over the passengers inside the car and set it on fire, burning the dead and also the wounded. About thirty people were burned up and the truck entirely destroyed. After this atrocity, which was probably the worst of its kind in the entire history of the Philippine Islands. The Government sent in a larger number of troops to guard the camp, also started a campaign on a considerable scale that has practically cleaned up the greater part of the Huks that were living in the Zambales Mountains. The camp is still well guarded and the forest trails well patrolled, but there has been no further incidents.

The company continued its mill construction and was able to get into production in 1942. In 1953, it was able to increase production over 98%. The mill produced 71, 705 tons of concentrate from 192,544 tons of ore. In 1954 it milled 151,111 tons of ore and produced 62,035 tons o concentrate. On January 1st 1955 the ore reserves were estimated at 1,696, 410 tons of ore.

The mine and camp are located at an elevation hanging from 1600 to 2000 feet. The climate is quite pleasant all the year around, although there are occasional typhoons with very heavily rainfall, but no really severe damage has been done to the camp by any typhoon, in its entire history. The camp is surrounded on all sides by mountains that to a very large extent protect it from high winds. A few years ago, very heavy rains caused rock slides on the road, but this has been widened and improved and only very small rock slides occur with the heaviest storms. In the past year many new houses have been constructed by the company for the use of its employees. Every possible safety precaution is taken.

The camp is very modern in every aspect and at the present times it is one of the most contented communities in the Islands. The large ore reserves assure a long life to the mine unless World War #3 breaks out, Acoje should have a very prosperous future for many years.

2 comments:

ironangel0214 said...

I COMMEND YOU FOR THE GREAT EFFORT!

Very well researched, TWO THUMBS UP ako sa iyo mr. admin. Every ACOJENIAN should be proud knowing his beloved camp's history, THANKS to you and to all who supports this humble endeavor!

NICE WORK, CONGRATS!

ebrobsky said...

galing naman fren!! storm DIDANG splits the padarusdusan going to section 1 & 2. . think that was 1976?

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