GLOBAL FERRONICKEL

A MINER controlled by Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. said it will appeal the lifting of a cease-and-desist order (CDO) covering its operations in Brooke’s Point, Palawan.

In a statement on Monday, Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC) called on National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Chairman Allen A. Capuyan to lift the order that the NCIP’s regional office for Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) imposed on the company and its predecessor Celestial Nickel Mining Exploration Corp. (CNMEC).

The NCIP had cited the company’s alleged failure to comply with the requirements for securing a permit to operate.

“The company expresses its deep concern over the immediate issuance of the CDO by the regional director, citing an alleged deficiency in INC’s Certificate Precondition (CP), despite the company’s fruitful partnership with the indigenous community and its sincere efforts to address royalty concerns in consultation with NCIP,” Ipilan Nickel said.

In a resolution dated Aug. 11, Ipilan Nickel was given five days after receipt of the document to halt operations and implement safety protocols.

In June, representatives of the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) submitted a resolution of non-consent to the NCIP, alleging material misrepresentations made by the company during the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent process.

The company said that “the NCIP itself confirmed that the CP was no longer necessary” after entering an agreement with the government for a mineral production sharing agreement in 1993, or four years before the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) was signed into law.

“The IPRA and its implementing rules state that existing contracts for the exploitation of natural resources within the ancestral domain continue until they expire,” Ipilan Nickel said.

It said that the CNMEC had engaged with the IPs/ICCs through a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed on Dec. 18, 2008, followed by another MoA on Sept. 1, 2022.

Ipilan Nickel said that the cease-and-desist order impeded its initiatives “designed to uplift the indigenous community” such as scholarship grants, medical and funeral assistance, livestock allocation, provision of solar panels and generator sets, among others.

The company said it will tap “all available legal avenues, including the option to appeal, challenge the cease-and-desist order, and ensure uninterrupted operations,” the company said in a disclosure to the stock exchange. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera