THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has affirmed its decision to close two mining projects and reject the application for a permit of another that are among the 13 that appealed to DENR sanctions announced in February last year.
While most of the others had faced permit cancellation, they now face suspension.
“The cancellation of Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) of Claver Mineral Development Corp. and Oriental Synergy Mining Corp. was affirmed,” according to the DENR statement, referring to a Nov. 12 resolution issued by Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, adding that “the denial of the MPSA of Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp. was also affirmed.”
Except for Berong Nickel Corp. whose suspension order was lifted but subject to corrective measures, the remaining nine miners were disallowed from transporting their ores until they fully rehabilitate their mines. These are: Zambales Diversified Metals Corp.; Krominco, Inc.; Mt. Sinai Exploration and Development Corp.; Libjo Mining Corp.; Wellex Mining Corp. mines 1 and 2; Carrascal Nickel Corp.; AAMPHIL Natural Resources Exploration and Development Corp.; Strong Built Mining Development Corp. and Emir Mineral Resources Corp.
“On top of the payment of fines and penalties, these companies were directed to undertake corrective measures within a timetable,” DENR said in its statement.
“Failure to implement these measures will result in reinstatement of the cancellation order previously issued to these companies,” it added.
“The resolutions directed immediate and complete payment of all fines and penalties for the violations committed by these companies. DENR also ordered that no transport of ore shall be allowed until full rehabilitation is undertaking undertaken by these mining companies.”
The miners concerned may still appeal to the Office of the President.
“The earlier they can have an action plan and implement it, the earlier we can monitor them to see if the suspension will be lifted,” DENR spokesman Jonas R. Leones said in a phone interview on Friday.
The review since last year of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) covered 19 nickel mines, three gold and copper mines, three chromite mines and two magnetite/iron mines. That review assessed their performance according to legal, technical, environmental, social and economic parameters. The MICC drew up a score card to determine the acceptability of these mines. Scores range from 0 to 3, with 1.5 as the passing threshold per parameter.
Four mines scored below 1.5 in the legal field, four in technical, eight in environmental, 12 in social and only two in the economic parameter.
“The report generally showed that, for the majority of mining companies, improvements in technical and environmental management practices need to continue and scale up,” according to DENR’s press release.
“It should be noted that the report also acknowledged that there had been efforts by at least half of the companies to rectify and correct inappropriate practices.” — Janina C. Lim