Two suspended Philippine mining companies face relief
THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has recommended the lifting of suspension orders on two mining firms after they have complied with corrective measures set by the government, on top of the payment of fines and penalties, after failing last year’s mining audit.
These are Cebu-based Strong Built Mining Development Corp. and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary for Climate Change Service and Mining Concerns Analiza Rebuelta-Teh said the two miners were among the 13 mining firms that filed motions for reconsideration with the DENR.
They were among those included on the agency’s resolution dated Nov. 12, 2018 which was released following the review conducted by the inter-agency Mining Industry Coordinating Council.
It cancelled the Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) of three mining firms Claver Mineral Development Corp., Oriental Synergy Mining Corp., and Ore Asia Mining Ddevelopment Corp.
Furthermore, the DENR resolution ordered for the suspension of nine mining firms–Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., Krominco Inc., Mt. Sinai Exploration and Development Corp., Libjo Mining Corp., Wellex Mining Corp., Carrascal Nickel Corp., AAMPHIL Natural Resources and Development Corp., Strong Built Mining Development Corp., and Emir Mineral Resources Corp.
As of August 2019, however, the DENR has already lifted the suspension order for Berong Nickel Corp., Carrascal Nickel Corp., and Emir Mineral Resources Corp.
Teh said suspended mines will be allowed to resume production once they rectify previous violations of environmental regulations.
“They have to comply first with the resolution we issued. Every mining company has corrective measures that they have to undertake. For Zambales and Strong Built in particular, it’s already endorsed for lifting,” she said.
“For the others, we still have to evaluate whether they have complied with the corrective measures,” Teh added.
Citing latest developments, she also said three mining firms–Claver Mineral Development Corp., Oriental Synergy Mining Corp., Libjo Mining Corp. — have filed appeal to the Office of the President, while five others — Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp., Krominco Inc., Mt. Sinai Exploration and Development Corp., Wellex Mining Corp., AAMPHIL Natural Resources and Development Corp. — are currently in compliance with DENR resolution.
Meanwhile, Teh said a second batch of the MICC mining audit will be conducted this year covering 17 mining firms operating metallic mines.
“They are those that passed the DENR mining audit but because we are committed to really review the performance of all the mining companies, we are attempting the second part of the mining audit [to be done in every two years],” she said.
“[W]e can start by September or October and we are looking at six to eight months to complete the second batch of audit,” Teh added, citing that the said review will evaluate the legal, technical, environmental, social and economic performances of the mining companies.
In June 2016, then-Environmental Secretary Regina Lopez carried out a series of environmental audits that led to the closure of many of the country’s 41 nickel mines.
The following year, Lopez was replaced by Roy Cimatu, who allowed open-pit mining but suspended it indefinitely until the affected miners take measures to redress environmental compliance failures.