MGB Rejects Appeal of OGPI
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has rejected the appeal of the Australian-Canadian miner Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc (OGPI) to transfer the rest of the ore from its mine site in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. This, according to MGB Regional Director Mario Ancheta, who said in his letter to OGPI General Manager David Way, that the company must “be held in abeyance until such time the renewal of the FTAA [Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement] is granted”.
Either that or if there is already an agreement between the local government unit or the company.
OGPI requested after the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Kasibu municipality issued a resolution of no-objection to the application for the said OTP. In its resolution, the Kalibu SB recognizes how important the transport of copper maybe for the people of Kasibu, especially during this time of the pandemic.
It can be recalled that more than a year has passed since the company’s FTAA for the Didipio underground copper and gold mine project in Nueva Vizcaya has expired. In addition, the local government unit is against the project of the OGPI. June last year saw Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla putting a stop to this project once the FTAA has expired - with barricades surrounding the area. Presently, OGPI has two ways for its operations to continue - through the approval of the Office of the President or if the LGU changes its mind on continuing the project.
Meanwhile, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is all praises for this decision of the MGB, an attached agency to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“While our alliance empathizes with the very challenging situation faced by mineworkers in the town of Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya that is hosting the mine operations, we remind both the DENR and elected local government officials that OGPI has no legal standing to operate because its mining contract is expired and has failed to secure its renewal,” ATM said. “Our alliance demands that OGPI immediately implement the Final Mine Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Plan (FMRDP) and that the DENR and the LGUs are tapped to enforce and monitor its implementation.”
In August, OGPI said the company has re-endorsed its application for the renewal of the FTAA. It said, “A working team created by the President [of the company] completed a review of the FTAA renewal, which included engagement with the Company, before re-endorsing the renewal to the Office of the President where it remains for a decision.” It also added that without the FTAA, the company may decide on the “on-going status of the Didipio workforce as temporary lay-offs commenced in mid-April”.