Zamboanga del Norte ban on open-pit mining stands
DIPOLOG CITY, Philippines—The provincial government of Zamboanga del Norte stands fast on its ban on open-pit mining and will fight in court the Canadian-mining company TVI Resources’ efforts to have the ordinance declared unconstitutional.
Provincial Board member Cedric Adriatico told the Inquirer on Friday that the protection of the environment and the welfare of the people of the province was more important than what TVI could offer in return for its mining activities in the municipality of Siocon.
The ban, which came into effect a few weeks ago, would affect TVI’s open-pit mining.
The Canadian mining company, which has been operating in Siocon for about 13 years, announced on Wednesday that it has filed a petition for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the ordinance, arguing that its passage was unconstitutional.
“The ordinance violates the due-process, equal-protection and non-impairment-of-contracts clauses of the 1987 Constitution,” a company statement said.
TVI added that the ordinance was also “contrary to the applicable provisions of the Local Government Code and the Mining Act.”
Rhonda Bennetto, TVI Resource’s vice president for investor and corporate relations, said in a letter to company stakeholders that the ban “may cause the company’s closure of its mining operation within the province.”
But she said TVI had to contest the ban because it violates some laws.
“It is the opinion of our external legal counsel that this ordinance is contrary to provisions under the Local Government Code of 1991 and the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and is therefore unconstitutional,” she said.
Adriatico said no law was violated when the ordinance was passed and that it was supported by members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
He said the provincial government will answer TVI’s charges in court.
Adriatico also slammed TVI’s claim that the ban would deprive Subanens of their livelihood.
“TVI is only after its own interest and of nobody else,” he said.
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