Category Archives: saguittarius mines

PHILIPPINES POISED TO LIFT BAN ON OPEN-PIT MINING

“In the 28th MICC meeting held on 24 October 2017, wherein a quorum was acting and present throughout, majority of the members of the MICC members voted to recommend a change in the policy of the DENR with regard to Department Administrative Order (DAO) 2017-10, particularly, that the DENR lift the ban on open pit mining provided that mining laws are strictly enforced,” the council said in a statement after their meeting.

During the meeting, the MICC also agreed that it should be the DENR, through its Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), that should “take a close look and take appropriate action” on the issue involving the expansion of 24 mining areas covered by Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs).

The MICC is co-chaired by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu and Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

On the “fact-finding and science-based” review of the first batch of 26 mines ordered either closed or suspended by the previous DENR leadership, the MICC expects preliminary results of the review in January next year and the final report by March.

MICC said the composition of the Technical Review Teams (TRTs) and the methodologies they would undertake to conduct the review were finalized in the second week of October.

As proposed by Dominguez, the MICC agreed to conduct another review in 2019 and succeeding ones every two years thereafter, in keeping with the MICC mandate under Exeutive Order No. 79 on a review of all mining operations once every two years.

Last April 27, then DENR Secretary Regina Lopez issued Department Administrative Order (DAO)-2017-10 imposing a ban on the open pit method of extraction for copper, gold, silver and complex ores.

In its Aug. 23 meeting, the MICC tasked its technical working groups (TWGs) on Economic Concerns (EC) and on Environmental Protection and Legislation (EPL) to review and formulate the MICC policy recommendations in relation to the open pit mining ban.

The TWGs were also directed to clarify related policy concerns that include conflicting national and local level policies and issuances; and strengthening the enforcement of existing mining laws, regulations and contracts related to open pit mining.

According to DOF Undersecretary Bayani Agabin, the TWGs were guided by the policy statements of President Duterte on the issue.

“The study also covered the economic, technical, legal and social aspects of open-pit mining,” Agabin said.

During the Aug. 23 meeting, Cimatu had informed the MICC that the President’s (Rodrigo Duterte) policy directives on mining include: improving the regulatory functions of the government on mining; investigating and resolving issues concerning security and safety in small scale mining; addressing the adverse environmental and social impacts of mining, particularly in coastal areas; strengthening regulations on open pit mining; and strictly implementing the mining law and other pertinent environmental laws and regulations to ensure the protection of the environment.

On the 26 mines ordered either closed or suspended under Lopez’s term last year, the MICC earlier said it would tap the expertise of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) to implement and manage the “fact-finding and science-based” review process on these mining operations.  

The review will be conducted by experts who will be divided into five TRTs, said Agabin.

Agabin said the clustering of the mines for review were based on the types of minerals and locations — TRT Team 1 for gold, copper and nickel mines in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) , Cagayan Valley (Region II) and Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (Region IV-B); TRT 2 for iron and nickel mines in Central Luzon (Region III); TRT 3 for chromite, nickel and iron mines in Eastern Visayas (Region VIII) and CARAGA; and TRTs 4 and 5 for nickel and chromite mines in CARAGA.

The five TRTs will look at the environmental, economic, social, legal and technical aspects of the mining operations. (PNA) 

NPA claims attacks on Sagittarius, Consunji mining firms

48 container vans burned, 13 rifles seized

Communist rebels attacked two mining firms in South Cotabato on May 19, burned 48 container vans of Glencore-Xstrata-SMI mining company and seized 13 rifles form the Consunji-owned the South Davao Development Company Inc.(SDDCI).

Dencio Madrigal, Spokesperson, Valentin Palamine Command, New People’s Army (NPA) Far Southern Mindanao Regional Command said the attack is a ” counter-offensive against the 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command’s sustained military operations in Davao Del Sur, North Cotabato, South Cotabato and other areas in Socksargen.”

“The NPA’s tactical offensives will continue to attack large-scale mining firms that are responsible for open pit mining and other environmentally destructive operations…. to guarantee the safety of the masses against floods, landslides and other disasters as, said Madrigal in a statement e-mailed to durianburgdavao.

smiPress Statement

May 20, 2014

Company-sized guerrillas belonging to the Mt. Alip Command under the Valentin Palamine Command-Far Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army launched simultaneous tactical offensives against Glencore-Xtrata SMI mining company and the South Davao Development Company Inc.(SDDCI), a mining firm owned by the Consunji’s.

The NPAs burned 48 container vans which were used as offices at the SMI pioneering camp in Sitio Gumatikura, Brgy. Kimlawis, Kiblawan at 5:30 am last May 19.

An hour later, another group of NPA fighters garbed in enemy uniforms took control without firing a single shot of the SDDCI mining camp in Sitio Salnaong, Brgy. Datal Blau, Columbio. Confiscated from the security guards belonging to the Cavalier security agency were 13 shotgun rifles, four vhf radios, 1 gps radio and 1 laptop.

The latest NPA tactical offensive is part of the intensification of revolutionary armed struggle and counter-offensives to defeat the 10thInfantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command’s sustained military operations in Davao Del Sur, North Cotabato, South Cotabato and other areas in Socksargen.

The punitive action is also a continuing enforcement of the policy of the People’s Democratic Government to defend national patrimony by opposing operations of foreign large-scale mining companies like Glencore Xtrata-SMI (Sagittarius Mines, Inc.), considered to be one of the world’s biggest mining firms. SMI is the local operator of the Tampakan Mines in South Cotabato, the country’s largest mining investment.

NPA’s tactical offensives will continue to attack large-scale mining firms that are responsible for open pit mining and other environmentally destructive operations. Failure by the US-Aquino regime to guarantee the safety of the masses against floods, landslides and other disasters as a result of big mining operations has made the NPA’s punitive actions more effective in truly protecting the environment.

The regime’s sweet policy towards environmental plunderers like Glencore and SDDCI and the acceleration of mining extraction in the country’s remaining natural resources invigorate the NPA and the revolutionary movement to further intensify the people’s war.

 Dencio Madrigal

Spokesperson

Valentin Palamine Command

NPA Far Southern Mindanao Regional Command

 

Glencore Xstrata ‘to pull out’ of Philippine mining project

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THE TAMPAKAN PROJECT  had run into many problems, chiefly the South Cotabato  provincial government’s Environmental Code which bans open-pit mining; it also faced strong opposition from church, community; communist rebels, leftist organizations and environmental groups

SMI LOGOSwiss mining giant Glencore Xstrata is expected to pull out of a $5.9 billion gold-copper mining project in the Philippines, its Australian partner Indophil said.

Melbourne-based Indophil Resources NL said in a quarterly report released this week that “Glencore Xstrata has advised Indophil of its preference to pursue divestment of its interest in Tampakan.”

“All indications point to Glencore Xstrata seeking to divest its majority interest in the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project,” the report added.

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MALACANANG REVIEW OF SAGITTARIUS MINES JUNKED ENVIRONMENTAL PERMIT TO IMPERIL SOUTH COTABATO OPEN-PIT MINING BAN

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Malacanang said it would study the appeal for reconsideration of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), whose Tampakan gold-copper project has been denied issuance of an environmental compliance certificate by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).


The Palace move to study the appeal was expected to eventually lead to constitutional prohibition against South Cotabato’s ban on open pit mining, a major stumbling block to the SMI $5.9-billion Tampakan Project, the largest direct foreign investment in the Philippines today and backed by world copper producer Xstrata, that is set for commercial operation in 2016.
The Tampakan project is described as the largest undeveloped copper-gold reserve in Southeast Asia.
The South Cotabato provincial government has approved an Environmental Code that bans the open pit method of mining that SMI would use in its Tampakan project.
Open pit mining, however, is allowed by the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
Another setback for the Environmental Code is Executive Order No. 79 recently issued by President Benigno Aquino which clarified that national laws, referring to the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, are over and above local ordinances, like the South Cotabato Environmental Code and its ban on open pit mining.
SMI has submitted a detailed appeal memorandum with the Office of the President appealing the denial of our mine area’s environmental compliance certificate (ECC), SMI corporate communications manager John B. Arnaldo said.
Our appeal outlines a clear case that the process for issuing ECCs under current national law should not be impeded by a conflicting provincial law, Arnaldo said.
Mark Williams, SMI general manager, said SMI filed the notice of appeal on June 29. “We will work with the EO 79 to strengthen the argument,” Williams said.
SMI’s notice of appeal has been submitted. The Office of the President through its legal team will study the matter, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing last week.
Lacierda did not commit to a timetable as to when the study would be completed but hinted it would have a positive impact on SMI.
He said that when Malacanang studies the SMI appeal, existing rules and laws, including the recently signed Executive Order (EO) 79, clarifying the country’s mining policies, would be considered in rendering of the decision.
Aquino’s EO was specific about national mining laws bigger in scope and authority than local government legislation.
Lacierda added though that the DENR has yet to transmit the entire records of the case for study.
It will be up to the Office of the President to look into the substance and the legal issues as well as the rules and laws and executive orders, including EO 79, surrounding issues on mining, said Lacierda.
Lacierda did not comment if the EO will guarantee a favorable decision for SMI.
But Environment Secretary Ramon Jesus P. Paje earlier said EO 79  aims to harmonize existing national and local laws.
Under EO 79, the Department of Interior and Local Government could talk to local government units to discuss existing issues, including SMI’s appeal to operate the Tampakan project.
Paje said that SMI’s latest plea could be viewed favorably with the issuance of EO 79.
SMI elevated its case to Malacanang after the DENR denied issuance of an ECC to its Tampakan project due to South Cotabato’s ban on open pit mining.
Straddling three provinces–South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur— the Tampakan mine has 2.4 billion metric tons of deposits, containing 13.5 million metric tons of copper and 15.8 million ounces of gold.
The project is expected to contribute P134 billion to the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) each year.

Aquino studying rejection of SoCot open-pit ban

AQUINO, WILLIAMS

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Malacanang said it would study the appeal for reconsideration of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), whose Tampakan gold-copper project has been denied issuance of an environmental compliance certificate by the
Department of nnvironment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The Palace move to study the appeal was expected to eventually lead to constitutional prohibition against South Cotabato’s ban on open pit mining, a major stumbling block to the SMI $5.9-billion Tampakan Project, the largest direct foreign investment in the Philippines today and backed by world copper producer Xstrata, that is set for commercial operation in 2016.

Aquino EO 79 boosts confidence of Aussie investor in Tampakan gold-copper project

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

An Australian mining company with large stake in the $5.9 billion Tampakan gold-copper project in South Cotabato has commended President Benigno Aquino for his issuance of Executive Order No. 79 detailing the Philippine government’s new policy on mining. Indophil Resources NL also expressed elation that EO 79 would remove a major stumbling block to the project: the ban on open-pit mning—the method that the project would adapt –by the South Cotabato provincial government.

“The new executive order…addresses 22 agenda items which include a detailed direction requiring local government ordinances to be brought into line with the Philippine Constitution and national laws,” said Indophil in a post in its website.

While banned by the South Cotabato local government, open-pt mining is allowed under the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

Consistency between local ordinances and national laws, it said, is of considerable importance to the company as this has been one of its main arguments in its appeal to the government over the Environment department’s rejection of its application for an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

“The most environmentally-friendly and economical method of mining the Tampakan deposit is by open pit mining, a form of mining method permitted under Philippine national law. The issuance of the new executive order should be a catalyst to removing the open pit mining ban in South Cotabato,” said Indophil.

Indophil holds a 37.5% interest in the $5.9-billion Tampakan project, which it jointly funds with Swiss-based Xstrata Plc. Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) is the local operator of the project covering 10,000 hectares.

In January, the Environment department had denied SMI’s application for an ECC for the venture because of a 2010 local ordinance in South Cotabato which bans open-pit mining, the method to be used in the project’s prospective operations.

SMI had appealed with the department the rejection of its ECC application in the same month.

The Environment department, however, dismissed the appeal in a decision dated May 22, similarly citing the South Cotabato ordinance in the decision. SMI said last week that it has begun an appeal process with Malacañang.

PRESIDENT AQUINO’S EO 79 AFTERMATH: Xstrata Philippine mine project may go to court

The fate of Xstrata’s $5.9 billion copper-gold project in the southern Philippines, which has been delayed by a ban on open-pit mining, may be decided in court, a provincial governor said Saturday.

Arthur Pingoy, governor of South Cotabato province where the project is located, said his government maintained its ban on open-pit mining which effectively bars the Swiss giant’s project.

President Benigno Aquino recently issued a mining order saying the national government overruled local ordinances but Pingoy said his ban remained in effect until a court ruled otherwise.

“Probably, this will be taken to the proper court, so we will see if (the company) or the national government will raise it,” he told AFP.

The Tampakan project of an Xstrata-led joint venture on the troubled southern island of Mindanao has been delayed for months by South Cotabato’s ban on open cast mining.

Pingoy said he was aware of the massive economic benefits of the project but said people in his province were still wary of its environmental impact.

He said both the natural resources and local government ministers were due to meet with him soon and he expected them to bring up the Xstrata project, which was originally due to go into commercial operation in 2016.

Meanwhile, the head of the government Mines and Geosciences Board Leo Jasareno expressed optimism that legal action could be avoided and that South Cotabato officials could be persuaded to lift the ban.

“There are many ways this can be addressed. The national government can talk to the local government, discuss the matter… it can be done through consultation, persuasion,” he told AFP.

He said Aquino’s new order would provide a guide in settling the dispute.

Jasareno said the Aquino government still considered the mining project, one of the biggest foreign investments in the country’s history, to be a “priority”.

In a statement, Sagittarius Mines, Inc., the local subsidiary of the Xstrata-led joint venture, said it would study Aquino’s new mining order to see how it relates to its mining project.

“We are encouraged that the implementation of this policy should assist in the resolution of the South Cotabato Environment Code which bans open-pit mining in the province contrary to national law,” the statement added.

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