SoCot OK lifting of open-pit mining ban
by Philippine Resources - May 17, 2022
Eleven of 15 members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of South Cotabato approved Monday the lifting of the ban on open-pit mining in Tampakan town. The copper and gold mine project in Tampakan is touted as the largest in Southeast Asia. (Photo courtesy of SP South Cotabato)
The majority of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) members approved Monday the amendments to the environment code of South Cotabato province, particularly the provision on the lifting of the ban on open-pit mining in Tampakan town.
Voting for the ban's lifting were SP board members Glezel Trabado, who acted as presiding officer in the absence of Vice Governor Vicente de Jesus, Larry de Pedro VI, chairman of the Environment Committee, Dardanilo Dar, Noel Escobillo, Antonio Fungan, Eamon Gabriel Mati, and Henry Ladot.
Also backing the move were Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Edgar Sambong, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK)Federation president Alaisa Marie Fale, Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) president Rolando Malabuyoc, and Philippine Councilors League (PCL) South Cotabato Chapter president Grace Achura.
Board Member Ester Marin Catorce, who opposed the amendment and was designated by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as acting governor, was absent during Monday’s regular session.
“None of them objected, as acting governor by the rule of succession I cannot attend the session. Governor Tamayo is out of the country while Vice Governor Vicente De Jesus, who underwent an operation, was not present,” Catorce said.
Catorce said she asked a colleague to defer the deliberation of the amendment because of the many issues that still need discussion. Her request, she said, was not granted.
SP members Ellen Grace Subere-Albios and Jinky Avance-Samodal, who also both opposed the open-pit mining operation, were also absent in the regular session.
Ordinance 04, Series of 2010, entitled “An Ordinance Providing for the Environment Code of the Province of South Cotabato,” was passed on June 9, 2010.
In 2015, SP filed a resolution affirming the open-pit mining ban in the province.
Pro-mining groups earlier said the open-pit mining ban in South Cotabato hampered the development of the copper and gold mine project in Tampakan, touted as the largest in Southeast Asia.
Anti-mining groups, however, said the project endangered not only the environment but also the lives of residents.
Sagittarius Mines Inc. has been pursuing the Tampakan gold project for years. By Roel Osano
Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
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Philippine Resources - July 07, 2021
South Cotabato to Reassess Tampakan Copper-Gold Project
South Cotabato officials will take another look at the delayed USD5.9 billion copper and gold project of Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) in Tampakan town in the wake of the government’s move to accelerate its operations amid the continuing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. said on Monday they will evaluate anew the proposed mining project even as he reiterated the local government’s stance to only allow “responsible mining” operations in the province. He confirmed that he met late last week with officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) led by Undersecretary Jim Sampulna to discuss the status of the mining project. “The government wants to push through with the pending mining projects, including the one in Tampakan, to help our economy recover,” he said in his weekly radio program. Also present in the meeting were Assistant Secretary Nonita Caguioa, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) acting director Wilfredo Moncano, MGB-Mining Tenements Management Division chief Danilo Deleña, and MGB-Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division head Marcial Mateo. Tamayo said he has no problem with mining as long as it is done responsibly, and that the people and the environment are protected in the process. He said that has been his long-time stance and those of the previous top officials of the province, which has a standing ban on open-pit mining as set in the Provincial Environment Code approved in 2010. But he said SMI officials declared in a recent meeting that they are no longer pursuing the controversial mining method. Tamayo said he asked them to make another formal presentation to the provincial government, especially to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan or provincial board, regarding their proposed mining operation. “We want to see all the angles of what they are planning to do in Tampakan,” he said. The Tampakan project, which started in 1995, failed to take off as planned due to various problems, among them the ban on open-pit mining in the province. The Regional Trial Court Branch 24 in Koronadal City dismissed in October last year a petition for declaratory relief and injunction filed by pro-mining groups against the provincial government over the open-pit ban. The mining project, once approved, “would be the largest in the Philippines and among the largest copper mines in the world,” a company briefer said. It estimated an average yield of 375,000 tons per annum of copper and 360,000 ounces per annum of gold in concentrate over a 17-year period of mining and ore production. The proposed mine site covers around 10,000 hectares situated in the boundaries of Tampakan, South Cotabato, and Kiblawan in Davao del Sur. Article Courtesy of Allen Estabillo - Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - May 20, 2022
Tampakan copper-gold project to benefit locals: solon
Photo credit: Sagittarius Mines Inc. Senator Francis Tolentino said the Tampakan copper-gold project being pushed to resume by Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) in Tampakan, South Cotabato will be beneficial to local residents. Tolentino said on Thursday the Tampakan copper-gold project will be "cost-effective" and safe. "Cost effective yung extraction ng open-pit mining kasi mababaw lang ang paghuhukay niyan eh, makukuha agad yung mina (The open-pit mining extraction is cost effective because the excavation will be shallow and the mine will be easily extracted)," he said in "Sa Ganang Mamamayan" program of Net25. Tolentino, however, said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should see to it that the rehabilitation plan will be properly implemented. "Ang nakikita ko lang dito, ganon din siguro sa mga outlying communities, sundin yung rehabilitation plan kung meron man yung DENR. I-monitor naman ng DENR, huwag pabayaan ng DENR. Dapat nakatutok lagi sila. (What I can see here, just like maybe the outlying communities, follow the rehabilitation plan if DENR has. DENR should monitor, DENR must not ignore. They should always focus)," he said. After the Tampakan copper-gold project halted four years ago, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed in April 2021 the lifting of the moratorium on open-pit mining. The South Cotabato Provincial Board also lifted its ban on open-pit mining giving the SMI a go-signal to proceed with its stalled USD5.9-billion project. DENR Acting Secretary Jim Sampulna vowed they will ensure that SMI will comply with its rehabilitation obligations and environmental protection, assuring that the environment will not be sacrificed. "We will also require SMI to invest in equipment and manpower to ensure mitigation in case of any adverse impacts from the mining operation,” Sampulna said. According to SMI, the Tampakan project is noted as one of the largest untapped copper and gold minefields in Southeast Asia. The mining company expects the project to yield an average of 375,000 tons of copper and 360,000 ounces of gold per year. By Wilnard Bacelonia Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - May 23, 2022
Body formed to study revision that lifted SoCot mining ban
Photo: South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. Photo from the South Cotabato provincial government Facebook page The South Cotabato government has created a Technical Working Group (TWG) to study the Sangguniang Panlalawigan's (SP) amendment to the province's environment code that lifted the open-pit mining ban. In an interview Friday, South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. said his decision on whether to veto or not the lifting of the open-pit mining ban will depend on the TWG’S recommendations Tamayo said he has yet to receive the amended ordinance. Within 15 days, the governor can veto or approve the amendments to the province’s environmental code before it lapses into law. “An Ordinance Providing for the Environment Code of the Province of South Cotabato” was passed on June 9, 2010. “For now, I cannot say because I don’t want to preempt the decision and findings of the TWG, but I assure you that we are looking at what is good for everybody,” Tamayo said. In a meeting Thursday with Bishop Cerilo Alan Casicas of the Diocese of Marbel, who supported the open-pit mining ban, the governor said the provincial government must consider several issues and concerns before arriving at a decision. “Quarrying is part of an open pit, and what the SP approved in Lake Sebu is also an open pit. It will be contradicting if the open-pit mining ban will not be lifted,” Tamayo said. “We will sit again together with the Bishop and Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) to talk about what is right or wrong, and it is important that I can come up with the decision two days before the deadline,” he noted. Meanwhile, Casicas said he hopes the governor will decide "based on the wisdom of the majority" of South Cotabato residents. During Thursday's meeting with the governor, the bishop led a group of some 3,000 protesters to the provincial grounds. “The most important factor is the wisdom of the people more than our voices and SMI,” Casicas said. Meanwhile, Board Member Ester Marin Catorce, an anti-mining advocate, denied the amended ordinance was recalled by the SP majority group. On Monday, 11 of 15 SP members approved the measure to lift the 12-year-old open-pit mining ban in the province. The SMI has been pursuing the Tampakan gold project in the province for years amid stiff opposition, primarily from the local Catholic diocese. By Roel Osano Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
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Philippine Resources - March 21, 2023
PBBM boosts transport sector thru big-ticket projects
Photo credit: Department of Transportation Several big-ticket infrastructure projects in the transportation sector have been approved or are already being implemented by the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the Department of Transportation (DOTr) reported Monday. In a statement, the DOTr said the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project, Davao Public Transport Modernization Project, EDSA Greenways, the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) West Extension, and the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension are all ongoing as of March 9 according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). These projects are among the 67 infrastructure flagship projects (IFP) that have been greenlit or are already underway out of the 194 high-impact projects under Marcos’ "Build Better More" program. In the rail sector, these approved and ongoing projects include the Metro Manila Subway Phase 1, Mindanao Rail Phase 1, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) rehabilitation, Metro Rail Transit Line 4 (MRT-4), Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7), New Cebu International Container Port, New Manila International Airport (Bulacan International Airport), North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), Philippine National Railways (PNR) South Long Haul, and the Subic Clark Railway. The New Dumaguete Airport Development Project (Bacong International Airport) and the Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation (InFRA) Phase 1 have also both been approved by NEDA, with six projects awaiting approval. Last week, the NEDA Board, led by Marcos, approved 194 high-impact priority projects with a total cost of around PHP9 trillion. The board also approved amendments to the 2013 Joint Venture guidelines to support the government’s push for more investments in the country’s infrastructure. PNR suspension Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda has expressed alarm over an impending suspension of select PNR routes due to the NSCR, saying it will affect thousands of commuters, mostly students and workers. “The welfare of the riding public should always be prioritized yet it remains to be seen whether such proposed solutions would effectively and sufficiently address the riding public's urgent demands in time for the imminent suspension of the operations of the PNR,“ Legarda said in her explanatory note on Senate Resolution No. 546. The PNR plans to suspend operations of certain routes for up to five years to facilitate the faster construction of the 55-kilometer NSCR. The construction will start in May and PNR may suspend the routes between Governor Pascual in Malabon City and Calamba City in Laguna, and well as Alabang, Muntinlupa City to Calamba. The Tutuban, Manila-Alabang route will be suspended in October and will affect between 20,000 and 25-000 passengers daily. Legarda urged the Committee on Public Order, chaired by Senator Grace Poe, to look into the impending suspension and come up with alternative solutions. Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - March 21, 2023
Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. signs purchase agreement with Baosteel Resources for 1.5 million WMT
Photo credit: Global Ferronickel Holdings Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. (FNI), has just signed an Annual Purchase Agreement with Baosteel Resources International Co. Ltd. for the supply of 1.5 million WMT of nickel ore for the 2023 mining season. The nickel ore will be coming from FNI’s operating mines in Surigao del Norte and Palawan, operated by Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC) and Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC), respectively. “Our two operating mines have given us the ability to undertake year-round production to better support the growing demand from China. The easing of COVID-19 restrictions and the robust growth of China’s property sector that is driving the need for stainless steel will help boost the nickel industry,” said Dante R. Bravo, FNI President. Should stockpile inventory permit, one-third of the shipment will be composed of lowgrade nickel ore with 0.90% nickel content and 49% iron content while the remainder will be medium- to high- grade nickel ore with 1.30%-1.60% nickel content and 15%- 25% iron content. The selling price of each shipment will be set on a monthly basis according to the prevailing market price at the time of price setting. Baosteel Resources International Co., Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the top Chinese steel manufacturing corporation China Baowu Steel Group and is engaged in the business of mineral resource investment, trading, and logistics services. Notably, the company highly specializes on trading of metallurgic raw material with annual volume of over 60 million tons covering a vast range of products such as iron, ore, coal, alloys, non-ferrous metals, ferrous scraps, metallurgical flux, etc. Baosteel Resources maintains over 100 overseas suppliers and over 40 overseas clients. The Company’s headquarters is located in Hong Kong with footprints in Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Indonesia, and several others. Article courtesy of the Philippine Stock Exchange
Philippine Resources - March 21, 2023
Celsius enters into initial binding deed and agreement with local companies to progress MCB Project
Photo: Signing of Binding Deed and Agreement (Left to right: PMR Holding Corp. President Dan Chalmers, CLA Chairman and MMCI President Atty. Julito “Sarge” Sarmiento, Sodor, Inc. President Ms. Erika Chalmers, and CLA Executive Director and MMCI Country Operations Director, Peter Hume). Celsius Resources Limited is pleased to announce that on 17 March 2023 the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Makilala Holding Limited ("MHL"), entered into a binding deed with Sodor, Inc. for Sodor to acquire a 60% legal ownership in Makilala Mining Company, Inc. (“MMCI”) for consideration of PHP 300 million (approximately A$8.2 million as at the date of this announcement), on terms and conditions described in the following paragraphs. The signing of the Deed is a significant milestone as it will enable MMCI to apply for an MPSA for the MCB Project with the Philippine Government. As previously advised by the Company, under Philippine law, an MPSA must be held by a company that is at least 60% Filipino owned. In addition, the Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries MHL, MMCI, and PDEP Inc. (“PDEP”) entered into an accompanying binding letter agreement with Sodor and its affiliate PMR Holding Corp. (“PMR”) (together, the “Parties”) to agree on the timeline for, and that delivery to Sodor Inc. of share certificates representing 60% of MMCI’s outstanding shares pursuant to the Deed shall be made only after, the funding by Sodor Inc. and PMR of approximately ~US$43 million for a 30% economic interest in the MCB Project ("Funding Commitment"). 3 The MCB Project will be composed of MMCI and PDEP, both wholly owned subsidiaries of Celsius. The Parties shall rescind the Deed if Sodor and PMR are not able to provide the Funding Commitment within two years from signing, unless the period is shortened or extended by mutual agreement of the Parties. As at the date of this announcement the amount of the Funding Commitment, which is inclusive of the MMCI Consideration, is approximate as the Parties will confirm the size and timing of payment of the Funding Commitment following completion of a bankable feasibility study on the MCB Project. Provision of the Funding Commitment also remains subject to completion of negotiation and execution of binding definitive long form legal documentation. The Philippine Government has otherwise advised MMCI that it has met all of the other technical requirements to obtain the MCB Project’s required environmental and mining permits. Celsius Non-Executive Chairman and MMCI Chairman and President, Atty Julito R. Sarmiento, commented: “We are indeed honored to have Sodor Inc. as our local partner in our vision to develop the MCB Project as a model for Transformative Mining in the Philippines. Our principles and visions are aligned, which is a powerful step towards developing and operating the MCB Project in a responsible and sustainable manner benefitting both our shareholders and local stakeholders. It has always been our commitment, particularly to the Balatoc Tribal Community, that central to the mine development is cultural respect, social development, and environmental protection. Sodor Inc. shares the same commitment, and is thus a perfect partner in developing the MCB Project.” Article courtesy of Celsius Resources. The full press release can be found HERE
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