May 1, 2017: Barbers: Axe must fall on Jasareno

May 1, 2017: Barbers: Axe must fall on Jasareno

A staunch critic of Environment Secretary Regina Lopez said Saturday that the revelations made by the leader of the agency’s mine audit team should serve as the final straw to convince her to fire and sue Leo Jasareno, whom the critic called Lopez’s “trusted yet grossly incompetent and corrupt adviser.”

In an affidavit submitted to the Ombudsman, the mine audit team leader—whom Lopez critic Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers did not name—admitted having tampered with the audit results on the orders of Jasareno, the dismissed Environment undersecretary and former head of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

“This is what I have been saying all along,” Barbers said. “We have incontrovertible evidence pointing to the manipulations of the mine audit, thus those mining companies that violated the laws remain in operation while those who deserve to operate were ordered closed, a decision made by only one man, Leo Jasareno. How it happened is the billion-dollar question that only Jasareno can answer.”

“We await the attendance of secretary-designate Gina Lopez and the rest of her cabal in the [House]committee on good government so I can show to her the shenanigans being committed by her most trusted adviser, as well as the other equally corrupt MGB Regional Directors who play God in their areas of jurisdiction,” Barbers added.

The lawmaker said if the mine audit team leader’s revelation “does not move the Secretary, then I can only guess why.”

May 1, 2017: Philippine Environment Secretary Lopez rejects $8B mining contracts

May 1, 2017: Philippine Environment Secretary Lopez rejects $8B mining contracts

Mining investors are in a frantic state of panic when their contracts and concessions were rejected by the ever-vigilant Environment Secretary Regina Lopez. She is an appointee of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to handle the department. She never let him down since.

Earlier this year, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez ordered the closure of 23 mining firms for ruining important watershed areas and indiscriminate mining. Companies of mining firms that did not adhere to the mining laws that the government has imposed and has deeply scarred the lives of farmers and fisherfolks were the ones that were shut down. Lopez further reiterated that the noncompliance of mining companies is not acceptable under the Duterte Administration and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Regina Lopez shooed away mining investors who want to apply for mining concessions. Those who have contracts with the previous administration but had not started their operations faces cancellation of contracts. Industry officials cried over Lopez’s decision saying that she is not in authority to pass decisions.

May 1, 2017: Mining firms told: Comply with EITI

May 1, 2017: Mining firms told: Comply with EITI

All mining contractors must now comply with the disclosure requirements of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau said.

Environment Secretary Regina Lopez has signed Administrative Order No. 2017-07 requiring all mining companies to take part in PH-EITI.

The initiative aims to ensure full disclosure of taxes and other payments made by oil, gas and mining companies to governments.

The government will suspend the Environmental Compliance Certificate as well as the Ore Transport Permits and Mineral Export Permits of any mining contractor that fails to comply with the disclosure requirements.

The certificates and permits will remain canceled until the mining companies are able to comply with the PH-EITI requirements, the MGB said.

The PH-EITI was created by Executive Order No. 147 signed by then President Benigno Aquino III in 2013 to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the extractive industries, specifically in the way the government collects, and companies pay taxes from extractive operations.

May 1, 2017: DENR reforms based on what?

May 1, 2017: DENR reforms based on what?

Perhaps reacting to mounting criticism from a range of quarters, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary-designate Gina Lopez announced recently that the government body would undertake “sweeping reforms,” ostensibly geared to make DENR more effective in fulfilling its mandate. In particular, the beleaguered official said, the planned reforms are envisioned to make its programs and services “more efficient and accessible to the people,” still aligned with her avowed goal toward social justice.

In the official release, Lopez, who was notably bypassed by the Commission on Appointments, said the reforms will cover policies related to forest, land, protected area, and environmental management.

Lopez followed this with yet another announcement that she has issued DENR Administrative Order No. 2017-10 prospectively banning all “open-pit method of mining for copper, gold, silver and complex ores” with the exemption quarrying to produce building materials.

This development comes just days before the CA is set to meet on the confirmation of Lopez as DENR Secretary and on the heels of reports of “deep divisions” in the cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte, in particular disagreements regarding the proposed review of the interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council. Lopez had questioned the legal basis of the MICC review, which was precisely formed to clarify issues surrounding the department’s contentious suspension and closure orders, which hit several key mining operations in the country.

May 1, 2017: Ang’s Eagle Cement willing to raise public float

May 1, 2017: Ang’s Eagle Cement willing to raise public float

BUSINESS TYCOON Ramon S. Ang’s Eagle Cement Corp. (ECC) is willing to hike its public float once the country’s corporate regulator issues rules raising the minimum public ownership requirement for companies applying to join the bourse.

ECC President and Chief Executive Officer John Paul L. Ang said they would be the first to comply when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) comes out with rules requiring listing applicants to sell at least 15% of their issued and outstanding common shares. Under the current rule, listing applicants are only required to sell a minimum of 10% of their shares.

“We will comply kung kailangan i-akyat later on, kung batas yan… Yun ang problema, di ko kailangan cash masyado (We will comply if we need to raise it later, if it’s a rule. But it’s a problem since we don’t need that much cash),” Mr. Ang told reporters on April 26.

The cement manufacturer recently gained approval from the SEC for its IPO.

ECC is set to debut on the stock exchange by mid May, where it seeks to raise a maximum of P9.2 billion from the initial public offer (IPO) of 575 million common shares priced at P16 apiece, according to its prospectus. This comprises only 11.5% of the company’s total outstanding 5,000,000,005 common shares.

Earlier, SEC Chairperson Teresita J. Herbosa announced plans to require companies with proposed IPOs to allocate 15% of their issued and outstanding common shares for the investing public. Firms already listed will have to gradually raise minimum public float to 30% from 10%.

May 1, 2017: Philex Mining may defer open pit mining project

May 1, 2017: Philex Mining may defer open pit mining project

“[Ms. Lopez] issued an order banning all open-pit (mining) so in the meantime, we [put on] hold the project. We have to follow the government,” Philex Mining Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters on the sidelines of the ASEAN Prosperity for All Summit held in Pasay City on Friday.

Mr. Pangilinan was referring to subsidiary Silangan Mindanao Mining Co., Inc.’s open-pit mine in Surigao del Norte.

Philex Mining had so far invested P17 billion for the Silangan mine, which is still in exploration phase but expects to complete the feasibility study within the year.

“There have been some initial development work for the project. It was initially underground mining so there was work there and there was also some work in respect of open-pit. And then we are at the stage of finalizing the definitive studies which, on completion, we will submit to the government for approval. And confirmation of the ECC (environment compliance certificate). If we are given all the relevant approvals, then we can proceed. But for now, that’s put on hold,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

When asked if the company will challenge the Environment Department’s ban on open-pit mining in court, Mr. Pangilinan said: “We don’t know yet. We are reluctant to.”

On Thursday, Ms. Lopez signed the order that will ban mines preparing to operate from using the open-pit method to extract metal ore.

The administrative order, titled: “Banning the Open Pit Method of Mining Companies for Copper, Gold, Silver and Complex Ores in the Country,” claimed most open pits in the past “ended up as perpetual liabilities, causing adverse impacts to the environment.”

To recall, the Silangan mine was one of the 75 mines, all still in exploration phase, whose mineral production sharing agreement was canceled by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources due to its proximity to a watershed.

May 1, 2017: Miners sign up for DENRs’ area development program

May 1, 2017: Miners sign up for DENRs’ area development program

In a statement over the weekend, Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with representatives of SR Metals, Inc. and Agata Mining Ventures, Inc., both in Agusan del Norte, Philsaga Mining Corp. in Agusan del Sur, and Carmen Copper Corp. in Cebu.

This brings to five the total number of mine permit holders that joined the SIAMD.

“The program is a convergence approach designed to create ‘mini-economic zones’ that can generate sustainable employment, livelihood and income-generating activities in communities where businesses can operate,” it said.

Last month, Masbate-based mining firms Filminera Resources Corp. and Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corp. have signed memoranda of agreement with the DENR regarding the formulation of a development plan for areas covered by their operations.

The mining firms committed to be “advocates of responsible mining” and promote sustainable natural resources management of affected mining areas through the implementation of their respective area development plans and programs (ADPPs).

Apr. 30, 2017: CBCP applauds Lopez for banning prospective open-pit mines

Apr. 30, 2017: CBCP applauds Lopez for banning prospective open-pit mines

MANILA, April 28 — The social advocacy, development and humanitarian arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) applauds Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez for banning all prospective open-pit mines in the country.

“We support DENR’s move to ban open pit mining. Sec. Gina Lopez is doing what is right, she is not bowing to please the CA (Commission on Appointments) that makes her even more qualified to take lead of the DENR,” said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Executive Secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines.

He noted that they are against the mining activity since it destroys the environment.

“We have been advocating to stop or open pit mining because it practically deforest the mining areas, and many watershed ecosystems are being destroyed causing flooding, erosion,” he said

The Catholic priest added that such activity also affects the people.

“Farmers are affected and so as the indigenous peoples,” Gariguez said.

Apr. 30, 2017: Philippines bans new open pit mines

Apr. 30, 2017: Philippines bans new open pit mines

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Prompted by powerful evidence of massive injury to communities and water supplies, and findings of rampant violations of environmental law, the Philippines has bannned new open-pit gold, copper, nickel, and silver mines.

The order to block any more open-pit metal mines in the Philippines comes a month after El Salvador became the world’s first country to ban all metal mining.

“We have suffered long enough,” said Regina Lopez, the Philippine secretary of the environment, who announced the ban during a news conference here on April 27. “What are we doing? This goes against everything, everything that God wants. People are suffering so much. The Earth is suffering. It’s wrong. And it will stop.”

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, the industry’s influential trade group, did not respond to a request for an interview for this article. But Ronald S. Recidoro, the chamber’s vice president for legal and policy, told the Business Mirror newspaper that the ban was “absurd” and “biased” against the mining industry. “It did not undergo any study,” he said.

Apr. 29, 2017: Production record for Oceanagold

Apr. 29, 2017: Production record for Oceanagold

Oceana Gold has booked record quarterly gold production, up 44% on a year ago, delivering 147,946oz for the period, albeit with an impairment charge which  dragged down profits.For the just second time in 27 years, a mine other than its mainstay Macraes site in East Otago has produced more gold during a quarter. Its northern Philippines Didipio mine contributed 62,748oz while Macraes delivered 38,550oz.

For the quarter, Oceana’s after-tax profit of $US53.7million ($NZ78.09million) was dragged down by legal costs in an El Salvador venture, which attracted a $US17.7million impairment charge, delivering a final after-tax profit of $US36million.

Oceana chief executive Mick Wilkes said it was “another strong quarter” for New Zealand’s largest gold miner, highlighting its strong balance sheet, quality assets, growth opportunities and industry-leading profit margins gained from low production costs.

“We achieved record quarterly gold production on the back of record production at Didipio and the commencement of production at our newest asset Haile [in South Carolina],” Mr Wilkes said in a statement yesterday.


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