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DENR CLOSURE ORDER

Mining firms call for full disclosure of audit results

/ 12:13 AM February 15, 2017
DENR Sec. Gina Lopez with a copy of the DENR Mine Audit Report during a press briefing on Mineral Production Sharing Agreement. INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

DENR Sec. Gina Lopez with a copy of the DENR Mine Audit Report during a press briefing on Mineral Production Sharing Agreement.
INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

Large mining companies on Tuesday pressed their demand that the government fully disclose the results of an audit of their operations that Environment Secretary Gina Lopez used as basis for her order to shut 23 mines and suspend five others.

Four of the big miners received copies of Lopez’s closure order on Tuesday.

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Marcventures Holdings Inc., Benguet Corp. and Nickel Asia Corp. informed the Philippine Stock Exchange that their subsidiaries had received the closure order, which also meant the cancellation of their mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA).

These subsidiaries are Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. (MMDC), BenguetCorp. Nickel Mines Inc. and Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC).

Nickel Asia said it would pursue all legal remedies to overturn the order “because of due process violations and the absence of any basis that would warrant a suspension of HMC’s Taganaan operations, much less the cancellation of its MPSA.”

Marcventures said that until the matter was given due course and resolved based on the merits, MMDC expected to continue operation and conduct business as usual.

Likewise, Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. received the suspension order. The gold producer said it would file an appeal in the Office of the President.

All four publicly listed companies are members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), which on Tuesday said the receipt of notices of the MPSA cancellations in the late afternoon of Feb. 12 “only shows the utter lack of regard for due process by (DENR) Secretary-Designate Regina Paz Lopez.”

Lopez announced her order for closure of 23 mines and suspension of five others on Feb. 2.

“That Regina Lopez only issued the notices two weeks after her press conference and after subjecting the mining firms to publicity by trial also shows her lack of competence and knowledge to be DENR secretary,” COMP said.

“That she chose to publicly compromise these companies before having to dialogue with the mining companies is unprofessional and irresponsible, causing much anxiety among our stakeholders, employees, their families and our mining communities,” the group added.

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TAGS: Benguet Corp., Gina Lopez, Marcventures Holdings Inc., mine closure, Mining, Nickel Asia Corp., Philippine news updates
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