MANILA–The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) is proposing the implementation of a policy that allows only one operator per mining tenement in the country.Implementing such policy will help improve the execution of mining agreements and… Read More
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an executive order (EO) lifting the nine-year moratorium on mineral agreements to spur economic growth and support projects and programs of the government.Duterte signed EO No. 130 on April 14, amending Section 4 of EO No. 79, s. 2012 that… Read More
MANILA – The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday said the establishment of new mining agreements will pave the way for the country’s bid for competitiveness in the electric vehicle and renewable energy battery sector, as well as the country’s long-term… Read More
NCIP issues permission for gold, copper extraction in South Cotabato community
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, or NCIP, issued on September 19 a “Certification Precondition,” or CP, to the Sagittarius Mining Inc., or SMI, the developer of the Tampakan project in the borders of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur.READ MORE
Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Wilfredo Moncano said that OP already restored the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) of the $5.9-billion Tampakan copper-gold mining project of Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI), which could become one of the largest copper mines in the world.READ MORE
Never mind that the mining industry is raising the specter of lost investments and revenues and massive unemployment if the government continues to look at the sector as something that the country can do without.
President Rodrigo Duterte has to make a choice between mining as a revenue generator and mining as a serious threat to people and the environment.
At this point in time, Mother Earth and the Pinoys are winning; mining could be on its way out of the country’s landscape.
The government has suspended the operation of dozens of large local and multi-national mining companies for serious reasons among which is non-compliance with requirements to replant trees in mining sites ravaged by unregulated and irresponsible mining.
The President wants to stop the mining companies from further committing this sin against people, nature and the environment —- a callous practice by the companies.
President Duterte has issued a verbal order that should give the mining companies a big headache.
Short of ordering them to do a miracle, President Duterte wants trees —- as tall as he is — standing in the devastated mining concessions —- in six months.
Of course this is impossible to do, but we believe that the President can do hell and order the closure of the mining companies if he could not see the trees in six months.
President Duterte may have lost a jewel in former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, whose confirmation was crushed by Congress due to a strong lobby by the mining sector for hounding mining companies violating environmental laws and conditions of re-greening imposed by government permits.
For Lopez, responsible mining, the mantra of the mining industry that mining can balance economic development with environmental protection, in actuality is a myth.
Bald and denuded mountains without any vegetation in the mining concessions are graphic evidence of how irresponsible mining wrought havoc on nature.
If Lopez were still in command of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources today, there would have been no need for President Duterte to warn the mining companies because the rapists of our environment would already have been closed down by the DENR secretary. Environmental protection is on top of the agenda of Lopez who does not give a hoot about mining and the income it gives to government.
Her proposal that government programs including tourism can be alternative employment generators and revenue-earners larger than mining if mining is outlawed has not been tested due to the unceremonious rejection of her confirmation as DENR secretary by Congress, many of whose members have interests in large-scale mining. Adding to Lopez’s woes is the fact that there are people in the President’s Cabinet who are involved in mining.
With President Duterte’s strong-arm approach against errant mining companies, and his now clear agenda against mining, Lopez’s idea should see the light in the future. If we were the President, we will have Lopez back in the saddle at the DENR.
The closure of irresponsible mining companies as vowed by President Duterte is a sword hanging on the environmental rapists.
After all, there is no way that the trees they would plant today would grow above the President’s line of sight in six months. Except if the mining companies have God on their side or if they could still bribe environment officials as they did in the past to close their eyes on the violations.
We understand why President Duterte hates mining.
He has first-hand knowledge of the evils that mining inflicts on the environment, people and peace and order.
He was the chairman of the Davao Region peace and order council during his early days as Davao City Mayor and had come face-to-face with these evils as a spin-off from the gold rush in the 80s and 90s in Diwalwal, Monkayo in Compostela Valley.
The turf wars between large-scale and small-scale miners in the 739-hectare People’s Mining Area in gold-rich Diwalwal, at the tail-end of Mindanao’s “Mining Corridor” that starts in the Agusan and Surigao provinces, was a story of greed and violence and deaths.
Outside of the mine tunnels, unregulated plants processing ores into gold spew out deadly mercury and cyanide to pollute rivers and cause disease.
The economic side of the Diwalwal gold rush was one-sided: while mine owners laughed their way to the banks, the mine workers got pittance, just enough to survive, with mining malpractices and lack of safety measures constantly threatening to bury them in the cave-ins and landslides.
In the underground bowels of Paquibato and Marilog districts in the uplands of Davao City’s 244,000 hectares are rich deposits of gold and other metals.
Foreign and local companies wanted to mine the precious metals but their greed never went beyond their evil intentions that were immediately shot down by the Davao City local government and its officials from President Duterte, when he was mayor and vice mayor, to Sara Duterte, as the mayor today and when she was the vice mayor, and former vice mayor Paolo Duterte.
To totally stop the entry of mining companies, the Davao City government through a resolution of the Davao City Council declared the city as “mining-free.”
With government agencies tasked with issuing permits flooded with mining exploration applications, during his time then Mayor Duterte had at one point been accommodating by laying down conditions for him to allow mining: modern technology that reduces to the barest minimum risk to people and environment and statutes that would ensure the mine workers would financially benefit under a revenue-sharing agreement with the companies.
Until such conditions are met, Davao City is mining-free.
But Duterte also bared his reason why he is vehemently against mining which finally drove away the mining companies.
Davao City’s mineral resources, according to him, should be conserved as a “piggy bank” for future generations of Dabawenyos.
The promised revenues for the local government from mining was the least that Davao City needed.
Davao City was already an economically viable corporate entity able to respond to public services with its large annual revenue. As a premier city in Mindanao, it was experiencing a surge in investments that could ensure a highly functional local government unit. The city does not need the violence, the pollution and the social unrest that mining brings.
President Duterte may kill the mining industry but he should be supported for saving people and the environment.
If he did it in Davao City, the Philippines under President Duterte should also be mining-free.
If he is elected President, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will mellow down on his stand on mining.
Last year, the Davao City Council led by Duterte’s son, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, approved a City Ordinance declaring Davao City as “mining-free.”
The ordinance that banned any mining activity, is a follow through legislation of a resolution approved in 2011 by the legislative body as multinational companies applied for mining permits over large tracts of land in the city’s upland districts of Marilog and Paquibato that are said to be rich in gold deposits.
Duterte had then said that Davao City would only allow mining if technologies are available to fully protect people and the environment.
The Dutertes, including daughter former Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, are rabidly anti-mining for a reason: mining in the Davao and Caraga regions, Mindanao’s “Mineral Corridor,” particularly in Compostela Valley province, has a sad history of violence, social problems and environmental degradation.
Environmentalist hailed the passage of the ordinance but also sparked protest from the mining industry which threatened to sue the local government.
The Alliance of Responsible Miners (ARMOR) in the Davao Region, dsid then it will go to the Supreme Court to question the legality of the ordinance. The group said the ordinance violated the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 which allows responsible mining.
Has Diterte changed his mind about mining?
In a speech before businessmen in Makati City on February 3, Duterte said he would support responsible mining if elected President.
But under the most severe of regulations.
“Mining, the best that I can see now is the Australian standard, just follow the Australian standard. Just take care of the environment,” he told members of the Wallace Business Forum.
The supposed lack of protection for mining investments and fierce opposition from environmentalists has discouraged mining companies from pursuing projects in the country.
Two years ago, Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), touted as the single biggest direct investment in the Philippines, abandoned its US$59B gold-and-copper project in Tampakan, South Cotabato, over strong opposition by environmentalist groups, communist rebels and South Cotabato provincial government which passed an ordinance that prohibited open-pit mining, the method that SMI would use.
Peter Wallace, chairman of the Wallace Business Forum, is happy about Duterte’s open-mindedness about mining.
“I was particularly pleased to hear that he’s supportive of mining if it’s responsibly done in the way it’s done in Australia rather than just not done at all as we’ve had now, and I think that was very good,” Wallace said in a report in Rappler.
The Philippines is abundant in mineral wealth, estimated to be worth US$840 billion. At the height of the country’s mining industry, it was responsible for 20% of export earnings and was a leading source of employment, Rappler reports.
The Wallace Business Forum was attended by around 100 businessmen from multinational corporations.
Other than his position on mining, Duterte also spelled out his programs on foreign investments, transportation, federal governance, security of government contracts and peace and order, among others.
Before Duterte, the Wallace Business Forum had as speakers Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II, Grace Poe, and Vice President Jejomar Binay. ROGER M. BALANZA
An anti-mining ordinance has made Davao City a ‘no man’s land’ for mining companies which are forced to go to Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley for large-scale mining projects. The Davao City Council has approved an ordinance banning mining of all kinds of minerals except non-metallic minerals. The ordinance sounded off the strong anti-mining posturing of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and former Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. Dabawenyos and environmentalists hailed the measure even as the mining industry said it would contest the legality of the ordinance in the Supreme Court. The ordinance clashes head-on with the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 which does not totally ban mining. Mayor Duterte said he is aware of the mining act prevailing over local legislation but vowed to defend the anti-mining ordinance to protect his people and the environment.
President Benigno Aquino has issued Executive Order No.79 that sets new policies on mining that includes muscling down opposition to mining by local government units. The Aquino EO has authorized government agencies like the Department of environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) to identify areas throughout the country that have mineral reserves that could be opened up to investors.
Earlier years ago, the MGB admitted several multi-national companies have applied for exploration permit in large areas of Paquibato and Marilog, said to be rich in mineral resources. But the anti-mining sentiment in Davao City and the presence of the the leftist New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas in the far-flung hinterland districts cooled down the investors’ interests. The anti-mining ordinance approved by the City Council this year is a sharp-fanged measure that gave the local legislative power to deny endorsement to any mining application. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Davao Region said there are 13 new mining applications for exploration which it has submitted for action to the MGB central office in Manila. The applications are pending approval, said Edilberto Arreza, MGB Davao Region director, in the June 8 edition of the “Kapehan sa Dabaw” media forum in Davao City. Arreza said an exploration permit has a lifespan of 8 years. The applications for exploration permit in the MGB Davao regional office cover about 56,000 hectares. None of the mining areas applied for permit is located in Davao City except for HolcimPhils. Inc./Davao Union Cement Corp. which applied for permit to mine silica in about 500 hectares in Biao, Tugbok district. The giant Swiss-owned Holcim with a plant in Ilang, Bunawan district has more than 3000 hectares in Bunawan district where it had been mining for silica and limestore, the major components in cement manufacture, for more than 30 years. Silica ang limestone are classified as non-metallic minerals. With deposit in Bunawan nearing depletion, Holcim is expanding to Tugbok and the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) in Davao del Norte with its pplication to mine limestone in Tambo and San Isidro in Babak covering about 1,000 hectares.
Records of the MGB identified the mining companies seeking exploration permits in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, the Davao Region’s ”Mineral Corridor,’ as:
* Aromac Mineral Corp. in Ngan, Compostela, Comval with an area of 243 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Ramonsito B. Uy in Calapagan, Lupon, Davao Oriental with an area of 648 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Batoto Resources Corp. in Camanlangan, New Bataan.Comval with an area of 678.29 hectares for gold amd other minerals.
* Joseph P. Saucejo in Kingking, Pantukan,Comval for silica.
* Loyalty Mining & Dev’t. Corp. in Governor Gereroso, Davao Oriental with an area of 567 hectares for chromite.
* Southern Horizon Mining Corp. in Calapagan, Mati, Davao Oriental with an area of 8,061.35 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Southern Horizon Mining Corp. in Ayan and Boringot, Pantukan, Comval with an area of 8,100 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Oro East Mining Co. Inc. in Pantukan, Comval with an area of 8,100 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Eastern Horizon Mining Co., Inc. in Guadan and Manurigao, Maragusan, Comval with an area of 8,100.00 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Zetoza Mineral Res. Corp. in Pantukan, Comval and Lupon, Davao Oriental with an area of 1,134 hectares for copper, G gold and other minerals.
* Jake Mining Corporation in Madagasang, Maragusan, Comval with an area of 8,100 hectares for gold and other minerals.
* Mina del Oriente Inc. in Ngan, Nabok, Comval with an area of 10,206 hectares formerly held by Apex Mining Co. Inc. for gold and other minerals.