May 15, 2017: Mine’s growth potential stressed

May 15, 2017: Mine’s growth potential stressed
 

DESPITE its high potential for growth, the mining industry faces three major challenges—the new administration’s stand on mining, existing debate on the industry’s fiscal regime, and existing impositions from previous administrations that have kept employment levels low.

A study undertaken by the Department of Labor and Employment’s Institute for Labor Studies observed that the Duterte administration’s stand on “responsible mining” and its most recent actions have kept mining companies on their toes.

The study, commissioned by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, asked the mining companies if they intentionally reduced their workforce at any time in 2015.

Five out of 21 companies or 23.81 percent answered “yes,” citing financial losses, uncompetitive price, and off-mining season or the lack of mining activities as their reasons.

May 15, 2017: Cimatu calls for solidarity in protecting the environment

May 15, 2017: Cimatu calls for solidarity in protecting the environment
 

“We’re all in this together.”

Thus said newly installed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu as he called for solidarity in protecting the country’s environment and natural resources during the turnover ceremony held at the DENR central office in Quezon City on Wednesday.

Cimatu, the 16th DENR Secretary since the agency was reorganized in 1987, said environmental protection requires teamwork among those in the DENR, various stakeholders and the general public.

“I cannot do this alone, President Duterte cannot do this alone. We need all hands on deck,” Cimatu said in a speech after the DENR leadership was formally transferred to him by outgoing Secretary Gina Lopez.

The new DENR chief specifically mentioned “the men and women of the DENR from the senior officials at the central office to the rangers, foresters, geologists and even janitors on the ground.”

May 15, 2017: Reds seize small miner in Agusan – military

May 15, 2017: Reds seize small miner in Agusan – military

MANILA, Philippines — Troops of the 401st Infantry Battalion are tracking down New People’s Army guerrillas who allegedly abducted a small mine operator in Bayugan City, Agusan Del Sur Saturday.

Captain Jasper T. Gacayan, brigade public affairs chief, said the rebels also ransacked the mining tunnel in Sitio Anuling operated by Carzon Caesar C. Lademora, a resident of San Francisco town.

Gacayan, quoting unnamed sources, claimed the rebels were demanding ransom from the family of Gacayan, who the Army officer said suffers from hypertension.

 

May 15, 2017: Cimatu open to new projects when mining freeze ends

May 15, 2017: Cimatu open to new projects when mining freeze ends
 

“Isn’t mining legal? As long as it’s responsible,” Mr. Cimatu told reporters at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) on Friday when asked if he will open doors to new mining projects.

Asked if he is planning for a more investor-friendly environment, Mr. Cimatu replied in the positive.

EO 79, signed on July 6, 2012, extended indefinitely the moratorium on applications for new mining contracts in place since 2011.

Former Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez, in her first memorandum order, also ordered a freeze on the acceptance, processing, and approval of applications for both metallic and non-metallic mines.

This means aside from the passage into law of the pending revenue-sharing bill which will give government a higher share than it currently gets from mining revenues and which will lift the moratorium imposed by EO 79, the memo order issued by Ms. Lopez will also have to be lifted.

Mr. Cimatu, however, stressed that he has yet to order any policy changes.

May 14, 2017: DMCI Mining plans multiple shipments of ore stockpile this month

May 14, 2017: DMCI Mining plans multiple shipments of ore stockpile this month
 

DMCI Mining Corporation, led by business mogul Isidro Consuji, is planning to do multiple shipments of nickel ore this month despite the existing order from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) requiring suspended mining companies to have an additional trust fund of P2 million before they can remove their stockpiles.

DMCI Mining, whose two nickel subsidiaries were issued suspension and closure orders by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is a subsidiary of listed holding firm DMCI Holdings Inc., which also owns Semirara Mining and Power Corp.

Its two mines, Berong Nickel Corporation (BNC) in Palawan and Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (BNC) in Zambales, both have pending appeals to reopen with the Office of the President.

DMCI Mining president Cesar F. Simbulan, Jr. said the company filed a request from the Office of the President seeking for an exemption to the DENR’s memorandum order requiring suspended companies to pay R2 million per hectare before they can ship their ore stockpiles.

Simbulan said in an interview with reporters that the company still have around 300,000 tons of ore stockpile to dispose from its Zambales mine operations, while there’s about 128,000 tons in Palawan.

At the minimum and average price of US$ 26 per ton, the company is poised to earn more than half a billion pesos.

May 14, 2017: Philippine spokesman says concerned about Lopez

May 14, 2017: Philippine spokesman says concerned about Lopez
 

Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, environmental groups and church leaders slammed the verdict.

This after Lopez said only the President could take her place as he has the “guts” to take on big business.

Lopez has defined SIAD as “an approach, a strategy and a guiding philosophy that weaves environmental considerations with social justice and human development” and is aimed at applying area-based interventions and concepts on natural resources development programs. “We just have to accept what the CA has decided”. Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said Lopez could take another role in the administration. “Not only one loves the environment”, he said.

“In such a short time, in less than a year of service, Gina Lopez has already done a lot as DENR Secretary”.

Finance Undersecretary Bayani H. Agabin said that the DOF is respecting the CA decision.

Lopez was earlier bypassed by the CA, but President Rodrigo Duterte reappointed her.

“One needs tapang, because you’re going to step on business interests”.

Zamora shrugged off the comment, saying it had something to do with San Juan politics.

May 13, 2017: Green groups challenge new Philippine environment chief – ucanews.com

May 13, 2017: Green groups challenge new Philippine environment chief – ucanews.com
 

Green activists in the Philippines challenged the country’s new Environmental chief, a former general, to maintain reforms initiated by his predecessor, a green activist.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has named former military chief Roy Cimatu head of the department, replacing Regina Paz Lopez who failed to get congressional confirmation.

“We warn Cimatu against reversing the decision of former secretary Lopez on the suspended and closed mines,” read a statement of the Green Thumb Coalition.

The alliance of civil society and environmental groups expressed its disappointment at the president’s decision not to re-appoint Lopez.

Lopez closed more than half of the country’s mines during her short term as head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

In its statement, the Green Thumb Coalition urged Cimatu to uncover alleged corruption in the department and the reported influence of mining companies in the government.

Cimatu admitted that being Environment Secretary is a completely different field. “Here I am wading into a field far removed from soldiery,” he said.

May 13, 2017: Nickel prices threatened by potential export lift from Indonesia, Philippines

May 13, 2017: Nickel prices threatened by potential export lift from Indonesia, Philippines
 

It may be going from bad to worse for the nickel price, with conciliatory comments from the new mining minister in top ore producer the Philippines adding to the risks of the market being pushed into oversupply.

Former army general Roy Cimatu was appointed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on May 8 to replace Regina Lopez, whose confrontational approach to mining won her friends among environmentalists but not among enough politicians, resulting in her dismissal by the Southeast Asian nation’s Congress.

Cimatu was cautious in initial comments to the media, in stark contrast to the firebrand approach of his predecessor, who shut down almost half the country’s mines, citing environmental breaches.

“There are countries where mining contributes a lot to the economy and environmentalists are not screaming,” Cimatu told Reuters in a phone interview on May 9. “I think it can be done … (balancing) environment (protection) and responsible mining.”

Cimatu’s comments suggest that miners can breathe easier.

May 13, 2017: Chamber of Mines: No impact in nickel output after closure, suspension orders

May 13, 2017: Chamber of Mines: No impact in nickel output after closure, suspension orders

Chamber of Mines of the Philippines’ Legal and Policy Vice President Ronald Recidoro said the closure and suspension orders issued against mining operations by former environment secretary Gina Lopez had no impact on the local production of nickel ore.

In a press briefing during the 2017 National Conference of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Friday, Recidoro said the closure and suspension orders were not enforced due to a provision under Administrative Order (AO) 22 or the Prescribing Rules and Regulations Governing Appeals to the Office of the President.

“The suspensions and closures did not actually push through because under AO 22, any appeal to the Office of the President automatically stays the enforcement of the decision. So the 23 (mining operations for closure) and five (for suspension), all of them appealed. The decision has stayed and they continue to operate as usual,” he said.

During Lopez’s stint at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), she initially suspended 10 mining operations — four in Zambales, and two each in provinces of Palawan, Eastern Samar, and Surigao.