12 mines face closure or suspension
Posted 4 years ago
By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Photo Credit: philihappy.com
More than half of the country’s operating metallic mines failed to score “acceptable” in the mine audit done by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), which is co-chaired by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.
In a phone interview, Environment Undersecretary for Mining Concerns Analiza Rebuelta-Teh said that 26 of the country’s metallic mines either need minor and major reforms or should be closed down in order to have an “acceptable” operation.
As of now, there are 48 metallic mines operating in the country, 30 of which are nickel, eight are gold, three are copper mines, three are chromite mines, and the remaining four are iron mines.
26 of these companies faced multiple, overlapping reviews over the past year, starting with the suspension and closure orders imposed to them by former Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez.
To see whether the orders of Lopez are credible, MICC had to conduct an “objective fact-finding and science-based review” on all the 26 firms, while DENR had to resolve the motion for reconsiderations (MRs) filed to them by 13 miners who tried to dispute their closure and suspension orders.
On Friday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) revealed the highlights of the audit carried out by MICC. The review measured the companies’ practices as acceptable (3.0), minor corrections needed (2.0), major reforms needed (1.0) and not acceptable (0).
The review assessed the practices of these miners in terms of legal, technical, environmental, social and economic aspects.
On average, Teh said no companies scored 3 or acceptable, while companies that need minor to major corrections include Oceanagold (Philippines), Inc., Hinatuan Mining Corporation, Carrascal Nickel Corp., Wellex Mining Corp., Marcventures Mining and Development Corp., Citinickel Mines and Development Corp., Aam-Phil Natural Resources Exploration and Development Corp., Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co., Adnama Mining Resources, Inc., Strong Built (Mining) Development Corp., Berong Nickel Corp., Emir Minerals Corp., and CTP Construction and Mining Corp. These companies got scores ranging from 2.08 to 2.92.
The other companies that were reviewed that also got a failed score are Claver Mineral Development Corp., Oriental Synergy Mining Corp., Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp., BenguetCorp Nickel Mines, Inc., Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., Krominco, Inc., Mt. Sinai Exploration and Development Corp., Libjo Mining Corp., Sinosteel Philippines H.Y. Mining Corp., LNL Archipelago Minerals, Inc., Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corp., and Erramen Minerals, Inc.
Of these companies, three are now at the risk of being closed down, while nine will be suspended.
The DENR, in its decision released on Friday, decided to keep Lopez’s closure orders on Claver, Oriental Synergy, and Ore Asia as well as her suspension orders on Zambales Diversified, Krominco, Mt. Sinai Exploration, Libjo Mining, Wellex Mining 1 and 2., Carrascal, AAMPHIL, Strong Built, and Emir Mineral.
Environment Undersecretary and Spokesman Jonas Leones said that all these miners can still continue operation as long as they will be able to file an appeal to the Office of the President (OP) within 15 days upon receiving the recent decision of the DENR.
Of the 13 firms that filed MRs to DENR, only Berong Nickel was off the hook, only receiving suggestions on how to improve its operations.
Meanwhile, 13 companies still have pending appeal with OP regarding Lopez’s order. Of this, only Lepanto got a positive resolution from Malacañang last year.
Teh said since Lepanto received a “2 plus score” from the MICC audit, the company still have to undertake correction measure.