Threat of suspension looms over 20 metallic mines

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Twenty of 41 metallic mines in the country face possible suspension of respective operations for supposed non-compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Environment Undersecretary Leo Jasareno identified firms operating such mines as Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co., Benguet Corp., OceanaGold Phils. Inc, Filminera Resources Corp/Phil. Gold Processing & Refining, Strongbuilt Mining Dev’t. Corp., AAMPhil Natural Res. Explo & Development Corp., Adnama Mining Res. Corp., Minimax MineralExplo Corp., Carrascal Mining Corp. and Century Peak Corp.

Also recommended for suspension are CTP Construction & Mining Corp., SR Metals Inc., Wellex Mining Corp., Hinatuan Mining Corp., Krominco Inc., Libjo Mining Corp., MarcVentures Mining & Dev. Corp., Norweah Metals & Minerals Co. Inc., Oriental Synergy Mining Corp. and Sinosteel Phils HY Mining Corp.

“We’ll provide such firms results of our audit on respective operations,” he said Tuesday during a press conference.

Audit results

He noted such move aims giving the firms a chance to dispute the audit results and explain if these indeed failed complying with relevant laws and regulations.

Jasareno said upon receipt of the audit results, the firms have seven days to respond and explain respective sides.

Failure to respond will result in suspension, he said.

“If violations we cited carry penal provisions, these will be applied as well to firms concerned,” he said.

Should the firms’ explanations be adequate and satisfactory, Jasareno said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will allow these to continue operating.

“We’ll issue the suspension order if there’s strong basis to do so,” he clarified.

Non-compliance

Jasareno further said suspended firms must address environmental degradation arising from non-compliance with laws and regulations before DENR allows these to operate again.

“There’s no deadline in completing such work,” he said.

In line with Malacanang’s directive to protect the environment from irresponsible mining, DENR this year audited all metallic mines operating in the country.

DENR Secretary Gina Lopez sees the audit as a step towards promoting truly responsible mining nationwide.

Stricter rules

“If we want to have a mining industry, that’s either at par with or even better than the world’s best, we must be very strict with our rules,” she said.

The DENR chief plans to meet the audit-failing firms this week to determine how these can truly undertake responsible mining.

“I think some of those companies hold promise,” she said.

Earlier, DENR suspended 10 metallic mines also for failing to comply with relevant laws and regulations.

A little better

Jasareno identified the mines as BenguetCorp. Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., LnL Archipelago Minerals Inc., Ore Asia Mining & Dev. Corp., Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., Berong Nickel Corp., Citinickel Mining & Dev. Corp., Emir Mineral Resources Corp., Claver Mineral and Mt. Sinai Mining Explo & Dev. Corp.

He said such firms are already undertaking work to address environmental degradation due to such non-compliance.

Meanwhile, Lopez said she also plans to meet firms that passed DENR’s audit to see how respective operations can be enhanced further. “I want to make things a little better,” she said.

The audit-passing firms are Philex Mining Corp., Rio Tuba Nickel Corp./Coral Bay Nickel Corp., Carmen Copper Corp., Techiron Res. Inc., Apex Mining Co. Inc., Cagdianao Mining Corp., Greenstone Resources Corp., Taganito Mining Corp., Pacific Nickel Phils Inc., Platinum Group Metals Corp. and Philsaga Mining Corp., said DENR.

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