Mil-Oro disputes NPA claim of destructive operations

Posted on May 13, 2017

DAVAO CITY -- Mil-Oro Mining Corp., the operating arm of Hallmark Mining Corp. and Austral Asia Mining Corp., has disputed the claim of the New People’s Army (NPA) that it has been destroying a protected area and polluting the sea.

The company, with tenement in the Macambol and Cabuaya villages in Mati City, Davao Oriental, said in a statement that the armed communist rebels are merely justifying their attack on the mining site last May 5, destroying heavy equipment and company vehicles and taking firearms, ammunition and various gadgets.

The NPA’s Compostela Vallley-Davao Gulf command, in a statement on Monday, May 8, claimed responsibility for the attack, which they referred to as “punitive action against Mil-Oro Mining Corp.”

The environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of Austral Asia was among those suspended by former environment secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez in October last year.

The company, on the other hand, said, contrary to the claim of the rebels, their mining area is not within the Mt. Hamiguitan Range and Wildlife Sanctuary, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

Mil-Oro said their area is six kilometers from the buffer zone identified by the provincial government.

On the NPA claim that the firm’s operations are destroying farms, Mil-Oro said there is no farm within its area of operations covering 28 hectares, where the company said it is also undertaking rehabilitation work.

The NPA said Mil-Oro’s nickel ore-mining operations “straddle almost 5,000 hectares of the protected areas of Pujada Bay and Mt. Hamiguitan range.”

The company also defended that its water discharge into the sea, saying this has been certified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as within the allowable limits. -- Carmelito Q. Francisco