Some certainty has returned to Oceana Gold’s gold-copper operation in the northern Philippines, after lawmakers rejected Regina Lopez’s appointment as environment secretary.Ms Lopez had in less than 10 months in office ordered the closure of 22 of the country’s 41 operating mines, cancelled 75 contracts for yet-to-be-developed mines and last week banned any future open-pit mining.
Cabinet ministers in the Philippines must be confirmed by Congress, although voting often takes months after they are appointed and on Wednesday lawmakers voted 16-8 in favour of removing Ms Lopez, Reuters reported yesterday.
Oceana became embroiled in the escalating anti-mining sentiment when in mid-February the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued it and four other miners suspension orders, citing environmental concerns.
However, that was immediately appealed by Oceana to the Office of the President, Rodrigo Duterte, which meant Oceana could continue operating.
Oceana’s Macraes mine in East Otago has been the mainstay of New Zealand’s largest gold-miner for the past 27 years.
However, for the last quarter production to March, its Didipio gold-copper mine on Luzon Island contributed the most gold to what was a record quarter of production for the company.