July 21st: Small miners’ ore limit defined.

THE SUPREME COURT (SC) has backed a government agency’s strict definition of the production limit for small-scale miners.

The high court’s second division, in a June 4 12-page decision, affirmed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) position in computing the annual 50,000 metric tons (MT) of ore restriction for small-scale miners under Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1899 and denied petitions for review of SR Metals, Inc.; San R Mining and Construction Corp.; and Galeo Equipment and Mining Company, Inc.

DENR has defined the production limit in terms of “run-of-mine” per year, referring to ore from the mine before being processed. The measure lumps other materials with the sought-after mineral.

In November 2004, then Environment Secretary Angelo T. Reyes issued a cease and desist order suspending the companies’ operations after their combined ore reached 177, 297 dry metric tons (DMT).

The three firms questioned the suspension order before the Court of Appeals (CA), citing a Department of Justice opinion which states the term “ore” should be confined to nickel and cobalt and should exclude all other materials that do not have economic value.

The CA, however, denied the mining firms’ petitions, saying DENR correctly adopted PD 1899’s restrictions for small-scale miners. The firms then elevated their plea to the Supreme Court.

In its ruling, the high court noted the firms’ summary of shipments showed it took 151,612 DMTs of ore to extract 1,699.66 DMTs of nickel and cobalt (Ni-Co).

“This means that if we are to subscribe to the mining corporations’ interpretation of how to measure mined ore by measuring only the Ni-Co and excluding the gangue, small-scale miners are virtually given the license to continuously collect large volumes of ore until the 50,000 DMTs of Ni-Co limit is met,” Associate Justice Mariano C. del Castillo wrote

“It must be emphasized that mining, whether small or large-scale, raises environmental concerns,” SC added. “DENR saw it proper to conservatively measure the production of metallic materials apparently bearing in mind the more intense impact of such kind of mining to the environment.”

Associate Justices Antonio T. Carpio, Arturo D. Brion, Jose Portugal Perez and Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe concurred with the decision.

By Mikhail Franz E. Flores, Business World On-Line.

July 20th: Atlas Mining gets option to raise Berong Nickel stake.

Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation has just entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Toledo Mining Corporation (Toledo) so it can raise its stake in Berong Nickel Corporation to 30 percent from 25.5 percent.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Atlas Mining said the MOU covers the reorganization of Berong which includes the option for Atlas Mining to increase its equity interest in Berong.

The MOU also provides for the mechanics for streamlining the current corporate structure of Berong to improve efficiency of administration.

It also includes the execution of a new shareholders’ agreement between Atlas Mining and Toledo that will define the rights and obligations of the shareholders with regard to the management and control of Berong.

DMCI Mining Corporation has acquired a controlling interest in Toledo.

“While we continue to focus on our copper business, we have always believed that the Berong nickel mine is a world-class asset,” said Atlas
Mining executive vice president Adrian Ramos.

He added that “we are excited that a company with the success and expertise of DMCI Mining Corporation has taken on the challenge of driving the development of the project.”

Atlas Mining incurred a 79 percent drop in net income to P118 million in the first quarter of 2014 due mainly to lower prices, expiry of Carmen Copper’s income tax holiday and unrealized foreign exchange loss of P159 million on its dollar-denominated debts.

The firm said that, had the 2013 copper prices been maintained, there should have been an additional P300 million in net income. Without the effect of the three factors, net income would have increased by 17 percent.

“While the financial results for the first quarter reflect a challenging start to 2014, the operational results show that we are on track on increasing production as we see upswing in throughput and recovery rate with the completion of the initial commissioning of Carmen Copper’s expanded ore beneficiation plant,” said Ramos.

He added that “we also continue to see the favorable impact on our production costs as per pound cost of copper is nearing our target range.”

“We are looking forward to an accelerated period of growth for the remainder of 2014 as we continue to realize the benefits of the recently commissioned ore processing plant as well as the continuous development of its higher-grade orebody to achieve steady improvement in our operating margins and net income,” said Ramos.

By Manila Bulletin

July 19th: Philippine Oceana plans training centre.

OCEANAGOLD is planning to construct an underground mining training facility in the Philippines to provide for the future workforce requirements of its Didipio gold-copper mine.

Didipio, 270km north of Manila, produced its first ore from open pit operations in December 2012 and expects to begin underground mining in 2019.

The company has formed a partnership with training company Site Group International to do the training at the facility, noting the broader benefits of the initiative for the Asia-Pacific region.

“OceanaGold’s Didipio underground mine will begin development in 2015 and we will need workers skilled in underground mining,” Oceana CEO and MD Mick Wilkes said.

“Our partnership with Site Skills Training will allow us to meet this need and create something for other underground miners in emerging economies to use.

“Working with the leading mining training company in the Philippines will ensure graduates meet our high standards for health and safety, trade and soft skills.”

Oceana and Site Group have reached an agreement with Mastermyne to provide guidance with the construction of that facility and input on the curriculum and training methodology.

Immersive Technologies is expected to supply underground mining simulators for the project.

Site Group CEO and MD Vern Wills welcomed the plan at a function hosted by Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell in Manila.

“We applaud the vision of OceanaGold to support the creation of the underground mining training centre that will service the industry regionally and will meet a growing need in the marketplace,” Wills said.

“OceanaGold is a company that is focused on development of their staff and working with the local community in building assets that benefit the community.”

The initiative coincides with another push by Site Group to develop heavy vehicle equipment operating skills in the region.

A separate partnership between the training company, Immersive and Caterpillar equipment dealer Monark-Cat has aimed to train to establish a state-of-the-art heavy vehicle training centre in the Philippines.

“The facility will be unique in the Philippines and will service the mining and construction industries,” Wills said.

“Well-trained operators will be safer, more productive and save on the operating and maintenance costs of the heavy vehicle.”

The creation of the training centre represents a combined investment of more than $US5 million ($A5.3 million).

Although more than 1000 students per year are expected to have access to training at the site, it will still fail to meet current and projected operator requirements.

Shares in Oceana were last trading 6.2% higher at $A3.42, while Site Group was up 7.1% at 15c.

By Justin Niessner, MNP.net

July 19th: Philippines to submit 1st mining industry report.

THE Philippines is currently drafting its first country report on the mining industry for submission to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) international board in December this year, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).

Regular country reports are among the requirements for admission to the EITI, a global standard ensuring transparency of revenues from natural resources, said DOF Assistant Secretary Teresa Habitan, who is also the focal person for the Philippines EITI (PH-EITI), a multisectoral group that will oversee the implementation of EITI.

The Philippines was admitted as a candidate country to the EITI program on May 22, 2013, in Sydney, Australia.

Admission to the EITI program is mandated by Executive Order No. 79, signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on July 6, 2012. The law seeks to implement reforms in the mining sector to “ensure environmental protection and responsible mining” of mineral resources.

Under Section 14 of E.O. No. 79, the country is called to join the EITI “to improve transparency, accountability, and governance in the sector.”

The EITI, created through E.O. No. 147, aims to promote transparency, ensure better governance, and make sure that the government gets its “just share” of revenue from the industry, said Habitan, who spoke at a public forum on minerals development held July 10 at the Development Academy of the Philippines.

This as Habitan said figures on how much is actually collected from the extractive industry are “disparate” and widely varying.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has its own data, while the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) also has its own figures that include the royalties that companies pay.

Moreover, regional governments and local government units (LGUs) also impose fees that are not reflected in the national data.

The EITI is “tasked to get the whole picture” of what the government is actually getting, she added. Companies which have elected to participate in the EITI “must show how much they paid the government.”

Because there is yet no central agency compiling all the collections from the mining sector, Habitan said the first phase of the EITI covers information-gathering only on the more than 30 large-scale mining companies in the Philippines.

The PH-EITI will try to compile all acquired data from the BIR, MGB, Bureau of Customs, Department of Energy, LGUs, and the mining companies themselves, and reconcile all the figures.

In the second phase, the group will include small-scale mining companies in their studies.

In an earlier media interview, Department of Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said mining represents only 1.04 percent of GDP but has potential to attract foreign direct investments and increase exports.

“However, President Aquino wanted to ensure mining was not only profitable but more importantly sustainable for our communities and our environment. EITI allows us to track revenues to ensure accountability through transparency,” he added. “Looking forward, mining can only be sustainable if we institutionalize reforms and good governance through initiatives like EITI.” (Philexport)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 19, 2014.

July 18th: DMCI buys Philex Mining HQ in Pasig.

MANILA — Philex Mining will be looking for a new home after selling its decades-old headquarters in Pasig.

Philex Mining on Friday said it raised P777 million from selling the property without providing more details.

DMCI, a major developer in the area, said it was the buyer of the 1.2 to 1.3-hectare property. That meant it paid about P64,750 – P59,769 per square meter.

DMCI built a residential and office project in the area that was Globe Telecom’s headquarters until last year. It has since built several other residential projects there. – ANC

July 14th: Does the government want mining?

While the contribution of mining to the economy has been substantial in the past, the adverse effects of irresponsible mining have tainted its significant role in the nation’s progress.  What needs emphasizing is that the so-called evils of mining are mostly found in small mining operations – use of mercury, exploitation of miners, involvement of criminal elements – while large mining operations with substantial investments from both local and foreign businessmen have toed the regulatory line.

The present investors in mining have persisted in their ventures despite the obstacles at the national and local levels, in terms of extensive and lengthy consultation processes, a myriad of environmental regulations, local ordinances fixing numerous fees and civil society interventions.  Only their faith in the country and the possibility of unleashing of the substantial mineral reserves in service of the country keeps these investors going.

In many countries, national government support to the mining industry has been consistent, given its net positive effect on the economy.  The government has laid out infrastructure that allows the easy passage of mineral resources to processing plants and to ports for export.  Incentives are provided, given the large investments required and the necessary arrangements with countless stakeholders.  Educational and vocational institutions are given subsidies to ensure the steady flow of competent and skillful mining engineers and other professionals.

In the Philippines the mining industry has been getting mixed messages.  On one hand there have been general statements of support during investment missions here and abroad.  Visiting investors are given general assurances when they meet high ranking government officials.  On the other hand, there has been slow progress in creating a facilitative environment for mining investments.  Despite the constant and insistent urgings of business groups for legislation and regulations that will make mining investments attractive to investors, the government has not responded with the resolve and speed indicating a sincere interest and concern for the sector.

The Aquino government has an opportunity to set the record straight.   The Mining Industry Coordinating Council has submitted a draft bill to the Office of the President which contains a proposed tax structure –either a 10 percent tax on gross revenues, or a tax of 55 percent on adjusted net mining revenues plus a percentage of the windfall profits, whichever means higher revenues for government.  The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines has stated that “such proposal is much higher than the (government) share in large mineral-producing countries such as Canada, Australia, Chile, Peru, Papua New Guinea and South Africa.”  As an alternative, the chamber supports the passage of House Bill 3586 with its sliding tax rate depending on world metal prices. This is reasonable given that the share of both government and business adjusts depending on market conditions as compared to a situation where one party continues to rake in revenues despite decreasing earnings due to low world market prices.

For the sake of the economy and the Filipino people, the Aquino administration should make its decision now.  If it wants the mining industry to be a prime mover of the Philippine economy, it should not kill it with an unreasonably high tax regime.  The Aquino administration should support House Bill 3586.

Business Bits.  It is ironic that a number of the critics of the “cross border transfers” considered by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional were officials of the previous administration that also practiced it.  They also were part of an administration considered by public in surveys as heavily corrupt and whose head is facing plunder charges.  Their constant criticism is meant to convince the Filipino people that all government officials are corrupt in order to make palatable their own corrupt practices or their having benefited from such corruption.

By Manila Bulletin

July 12th: Foreign firms call for review of mining zones, tax scheme.

COMMIT. Investors – especially foreign investors – hopes President Aquino would include in his State of the Nation Address that the government commits to upholding and enforcing the current Mining Act (of 1995).COMMIT. Investors – especially foreign investors – hopes President Aquino would include in his State of the Nation Address that the government commits to upholding and enforcing the current Mining Act (of 1995).

MANILA, Philippines – Businessmen – especially foreign ones – are urging the Aquino administration to make investments in mining more competitive and to support minerals development as part of its inclusive growth and economic strategy.

They hope to hear his position on this in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III on July 28.

Julian Payne, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (CanCham) said on Thursday, July 10, that foreign investors want to see the government commit to upholding and enforcing the current Mining Act of 1995.

The government should also review the recent “no go zones” in published maps which make 85% of the country off limits to minerals exploration, Payne said in a forum on minerals development policy at the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Despite authorities’ pronouncements on supporting environmentally and socially responsible mining, foreign investors see many actions by national and local authorities that discourage mining – “forward talk with backward walk,” Payne said.

Mining fiscal regime is ‘tough’

The Philippines’ mining fiscal regime was already “tough” for foreign investors, Payne said, quoting a 2012 study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

With recent unilateral moves by the government to cancel the Investment Tax Holiday for national investors, and to cancel the cost recovery period for foreign investors, the fiscal regime for mining has become completely uncompetitive for both local and foreign investment compared with other countries, Payne stressed.

The authorities are considering a new legislation, which “increases the tax rates; taxes projects even when they become loss-making including when commodity prices are low; and imposes windfall-profit taxes when commodity prices are high,” Payne cited.

With such a proposed new fiscal regime, the already low level of investment in mining will likely decrease further given opportunities in other mining economies, Payne said, citing feedback from foreign investors.

“[It] could kill the mining industry and its great potential to contribute to inclusive growth and development,” Payne said.

Proposals for mining zones

Foreign investors support proposals for the creation of Mining Economic Zones, similar to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) zones, Payne said.

Also, 50% of mining revenue received by the national government should immediately be allocated to the local government units (LGUs) where the mining projects operate and the impacts occur, Payne proposed.

Currently, 40% of direct taxation is earmarked for LGUs, but actual distribution to them has been very slow, Payne noted.

He said that contrary to the accusations of some politically-motivated anti-mining groups, large-scale, publicly listed, and foreign mining firms are the ones who can be relied on most for responsible minerals development.

“They are subject to the public scrutiny of exchange listings, proactive shareholders concerned about environment, human rights, and labor conditions, and international watchdog groups – both governmental and non-governmental,” Payne said.

As such, foreign investors want a strong statement by President Aquino that he supports a minerals industry in the Philippines – including foreign investments.

“[We want to hear] that he intends to retain the current Mining Act of 1995, to strictly enforce it by allocating greater resources to the relevant regulatory agencies, and to make one change in it – to allow foreign investors to invest on an equal footing with national investors in order to encourage the deployment of foreign capital, technology, and best practices,” Payne said. – Rappler.com


July 7th: Kingking mine still in limbo.

St. Augustine Gold and Copper Ltd. of Canada is still waiting for the Supreme Court decision that will end the corporate dispute hindering the Kingking copper gold project in Pantukan, Compostela Valley province.

A source said the Supreme Court was expected to release its decision last month but the high court failed to issue the ruling as scheduled.

St. Augustine is the developer of the Kingking mine while local partner Nationwide Development Corp. holds the mineral production sharing agreement over the prospect.

The Calalang group and the Ricafort faction groups are contesting control of Nadecor.

Corazon Ricafort and her children earlier claimed they were deprived of their right to vote during the annual stockholders’ meeting on Aug. 15, 2011.

Conrado Calalang, however, said Corazon’s husband was present during the meeting and even signed the attendance sheet on her behalf.

The Court of Appeals ruled that the Aug. 15, 2011 election of the Calalang bloc to the board of directors of Nadecor was valid.

The decision, however, was challenged by the other group at the Supreme Court.

The government suspended the processing of the mining permit sought by St. Augustine due to the intracorporate dispute.

By Anna Leah G. Estrada, Manila Standard Today

July 7th: Miner sees more gold in Batangas.

Red Mountain Mining Ltd. has increased the high-grade resource of its Lobo prospect in Batangas by 82 percent, or 37,000 ounces of gold, to 82,000 ounces.

The Australian firm said in a statement that it already updated a previous mineral resource issued in January 2013 following results from ongoing drilling and trenching activities in Lobo town.

The Lobo mineral resource estimate, the company said, now stands at a total indicated and inferred volume of 604,000 tons of material, at an average grade of 4.2 grams of gold per ton.

Jon Dugdale, managing director of Red Mountain, said the increase in Lobo’s mineral resources was in line with the company’s strategy of extending the mine life of the planned Batangas gold project.

Along with resources from another prospect called Archangel, Red Mountain’s total resources in Batangas is now pegged at 444,000 ounces of gold.

“The key to the success of this project is the high grade of our initial planned production, and the potential to pay back initial capital very quickly and generate high-margin cashflow from day one,” Dugdale said. “Our exploration teams continue to discover new prospects with the objective of identifying drilling targets for future resource upgrades.”

Last March, the company announced itwould look at building a gold mine in Batangas next year after a scoping study confirmed that a “low-cost, early payback” operation is “strongly viable.”

The projected revenue is pegged at about $121 million, while capital cost was estimated at about $15 million.

According to the scoping study, which pertains to the early stages of a project, the pre-production capital cost may be recovered in just 14 months.

Also, the planned project is expected to provide at least $7.2 million in royalties and taxes for the national and local governments.

By Ronnel W. Domingo |Philippine Daily Inquirer.

July 5th: Nickel Asia gets green light to dispose of nickel ore stockpile in Yolanda-hit mining site.

A WHOLLY owned subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) has been allowed to dispose of its stockpiles of nickel ore in one of the Supertyphoon Yolanda-affected areas in Eastern Samar.

The mining company informed the local bourse over the weekend that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in its letter dated July 1, has authorized its unit, Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC), to ship the stockpiles on Manicani Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

Comprised mainly of limonite ore, the stockpiles were produced during its operations in the latter part of 1990, which was then suspended over social concern issues.

HMC has secured endorsements from local government units and host communities, but the suspension has not been lifted as operations remained on a care and maintenance status.

Guiuan was the first area where Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan) made a landfall on November 8 last year.

While these remained intact, the disposal of stockpiles is deemed to be a mitigating measure against any possible environmental effect that may be caused by calamities in the future.

With the authorization of the DENR, NAC disclosed that studies will be conducted to determine volume and nickel grades of the stockpiles preparatory to identify schedules of shipping.

NAC is a global supplier of lateritic nickel ore, and operates as a nickel-mining company in the country, with four operating mines: Rio Tuba, Taganito, Cagdianao and Taganaan sites.

By Roderick Abad, Business Mirror.

July 5th: Mining firm developing 100-hectare tree farm.

CABARROGUIS, Quirino—OceanaGold Sustainable Agroforestry Inc. (Ogsai), an affiliate of OceanaGold (Philippines) Inc. (Ogpi), has been developing a 100-hectare commercial tree plantation at Dibibi Village in this capital town to implement the reforestation programs of the Australian mining company in Didipio Mine at the mineral-rich town of Kasibu in Nueva Vizcaya.

As technical-services provider, Ogsai manages and operates a central nursery for the production of various agro-forest tree seedlings needed in the commercial tree plantation and implements reforestation projects of the Australian mining firm.

“Now that the Didipio Mine is in full swing, we want to push sustainable environmental compliance with our advance rehabilitation programs and keep OceanaGold institutionalized as a ‘green’ environment-friendly mining company,” Ogsai Chairman Jose Leviste Jr. said. The tree farm was started in the late 2012.

Currently, the company is developing a 4.5-hectare central nursery in Barangay Tucod, here which also hosts the company’s demonstration farm with the support of nature-friendly government and non-governmental organizations.

In line with President Aquino’s Executive Order 26 dated February 24, 2011, creating the National Greening Program, Ogpi has already donated more than 100,000 forest-tree seedlings to villages of the upland town.

The mining firm and the Cagayan Valley regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have previously forged a memorandum of agreement that launched the reforestation project in the two provinces three years ago.

The national government-initiated program, in collaboration with different stakeholders and partners, aim to undertake the planting of 1.5 billion trees covering 1.5 million hectares in a span of six years from 2011 to 2016 in order to mitigate climate change, ensure security of water supply, conserve biodiversity and establish reforestation and agro-forest to alleviate poverty.

“We are happy that Ogpi has initiated reforestation in our village because it did not only provide employment for our local folks but a big-time greening program in our forest zone,” said Moises Bakir, an upland farmer here.

In support to the program, Ogpi has manifested commitment and intention to establish the reforestation project in partnership with the environment department.

As lead agency, the DENR will identify, conduct survey and mapping of the proposed areas. It shall, likewise, provide technical assistance and supervision during the plantation development.

“As a recipient of various awards for its reforestation programs including the Best Mining Forest Awards, we see to it that Ogpi, the first large-scale mining project in the country granted a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement—contract by the national government, should strictly comply with the Mining Act with special focus on environmentally compliant programs done in scientific manner for sustainability,” Ogpi Senior Vice President for Communications and External Affairs Ramoncito Gozar said.

During the recent Arbor Day celebration at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in Quezon City, Ogpi and the rest from the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines planted the 20-millionth tree.

“Long before President Benigno Aquino III has launched the ‘National Greening Program,’ we already have started advance rehabilitation programs not only in the immediate vicinity of the project but practically the whole host town of Kasibu with the continuous planting of forest trees in the upland villages with students composed mainly of Ogpi scholars were tapped on site preparations and seedling production,” Gozar said.

Written by Leonardo Perante II / Correspondent, Business Mirror.

July 4th: Hinatuan Mining Corp. wins 2014 Reg’l Kabalikat Awards.

BUTUAN CITY, July 4 (PIA) — Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) of Nickel Asia Philippines is 2014 Regional Kabalikat Awardee in Caraga Region.

Under the industry category, HMC of Surigao del Norte bested the other competitor from Agusan del Sur after a head-to-head deliberation between the members of the Search Committee headed by its focal person, Ma. Cristina V. Soberano, TESD Specialist II of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-Caraga.

A decade after the company has been re-opened for exploration in 2004, it has been noted that the Hinatuan Mining Corporation has regularly supporting the education sectors of the government particularly the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), TESDA, and the Department of Education (DepEd).

It was learned that through the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), developing manpower is its main priority. Engr. Ranulfo S. Aquino, the company’s Administrative Manager said they believe that investing human capital is not a waste, but rather a legacy which they can leave to the community in Barangay Hinatuan, one of the island barangays of the municipality of Taganaan in Surigao del Norte.

Through the scholarship programs that they have been regularly granting to the local residents of the area as well as its neighboring island barangays, more beneficiaries were able to finish the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the DepEd and just recently, more out-of-school youths were able to finish trainings in Welding, Consumer Electronics, and Automotive Mechanics.

Aquino said the scholars in Welding have undergone American Standard Certification Assessment through the Korean-Philippine (Kor-Phil) Training Center in Davao City. After passing the certification assessment, they were sent to Keppel Company in Batangas and Panasonic Philippines in Laguna for a ten-month On-the-Job Training (OJT) under the Dual Training System (DTS).

The official further said after their OJT, Keppel Philippines and Panasonic Philippines will evaluate the trainees and if found to have been qualified to work in their company, they will be immediately hired.

However, Aquino said the trainees will have the option to accept the offer or not since they may have the opportunity to work at Hinatuan Mining Corporation if their skills are needed by the company.

Aside from the regular support rendered to uphold human development, the mining company has capacitated the community for them to earn a living. In response to environmental protection where the company is regularly adhering to all its provisions, local communities were enjoined to plant seedlings of different species. After six months and the seedlings are ready for planting, the company buys the seedlings.

Also, in support to the schoolchildren and their parents, the company has provided free school uniforms from Kindergarten to High School students.Hintuan Mining Corporation has entered into a contract between TESDA graduates in Dressmaking to sew the uniforms at the expense of the company – from the sewing machines to the cloths, threads and other sewing needs.

One set of uniform will be paid by the company amounting to P250.00 for which P40.00 of it will go to the cooperative for which they are among the members.

The Kabalikat Award is one of TESDA’s reward mechanisms in giving due recognition and honor to its outstanding partners in the promotion and enhancement of TESD. The award is conferred to outstanding institutions, private firms/companies, LGUs and Legislative partners cognizant of their good practices and contribution in the promotion and development of the country’s technical and vocational workers in terms of qualification and/or competencies gained.

Said contributions may be in the form of training scholarships, donation of training machines and equipment, supplies and materials, recruitment and placement assistance to trainees and certified persons, internship training, TESD promotion and advocacy and other support services in pursuit of the advancement of TESD.

Under the Industry Partner category, these TESDA partners may be an industry association or individual private and public establishment/firm/company that adhered to good practices in the promotion and enhancement of TESD. The juridical personality of the awardees shall be considered in the selection. For instance, franchises will be treated as separate entities. However, departments/units/project areas shall be treated under its mother organization.

As the regional winner, Hinatuan Mining Corporation will be the official entry of Caraga to the national level. Winners will be announced and awarded in August 2014 during the 20th Anniversary Celebration of TESDA.

In 2012, the provincial government of Surigao del Sur was declared national winner in the LGU category, under the leadership of Gov. Johnny T. Pimentel. (Robert E. Roperos, TESDA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

By Philippine Information Agency.

July 1st: 1st mining permit issued.

The government issued the first mining exploration permit in two years, since President Benigno Aquino signed Executive Order No. 79 to introduce  industry reforms in July 2012.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau said it approved the exploration permit of Goodearth Mining and Development Inc. for a 1,968-hectare area in Dinapigue, Isabela.

An exploration permit allows a qualified person to undertake exploration activities for mineral resources in certain areas open to mining.

“The EP issued on May 19, 2014 grants Goodearth the right to explore the potential nickel, chromite and other associated mineral deposits within the permit area for a period of two years renewable for like periods but not to exceed a total term of six years, as such the case for metallic minerals,” MGB said.

The exploration permit of Goodearth will expire on May 19, 2016.

“The said approval of the EP is in accordance to the pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 7942, otherwise known as The Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and implementing rules and guidelines,” MGB said.

By Anna Leah G. Estrada, Manila Standard Today.

June 29th: Philex Mining Corp. supports Burnham Park project.

‘We have always been supportive of our stakeholders and their projects, as part of our CSR program,” Eulalio Austin, Jr., CEO and president of Philex Mining Corp., said after joining Baguio Bishop Carlito Cenzon to unveil the arch and two spans of fence donated by the company for Burnham Park in Baguio City.

Maria Luisa Meneses, a volunteer at the foundation’s fencing committee and dean of the Baguio City Academy, says the project, which requires 864 spans of fence and four archways to complete, aims to protect the park from vandals and petty crimes being committed by unscrupulous individuals on the park visitors.

Philex Mining has donated about P900,000 for an archway and two spans of fence, each measuring 2.5 meters high and three meters wide. Two concrete posts, each with a height of almost seven meters, support the 9.5-meter wide wrought-iron arch located at the corner of Harrison and Abad Santos Streets.

According to Rolando de Guzman, the foundation’s treasurer, the project is funded through the P25-million donation from the Office of the President in Malacañang, and another P11 million from other donors like Philex Mining. “We need about another P1.5 million to finish the whole project,” he said.

Bishop Cenzon shared the foundation’s project to develop Burnham Park stemmed from the idea to protect the heritage of the city for the present and future generations of the diocese, as well as the park’s visitors. The park was named after Daniel Hudson Burnham, an American architect who laid the plans for Baguio City. The Bishop also stresses that the development of the park is done in cooperation with the city government, although the funds come only from donations and 10 percent of the proceeds from the annual golf tournament being organized by the foundation with the support of Philex Mining and other companies.

By Manila Bulletin.

June 30th: British mining firm provides livelihood to Vizcaya villagers.

QUEZON, Nueva Vizcaya: A British mining firm here has renewed its commitment to provide millions of peso-worth technical and financial assistance to villagers in Barangay Runruno in its effort to help improve their economic status.

FCF Minerals Corporation community relations manager Melanie Valenciano said they are continually supporting at least 14 livelihood projects through the provision of capital assistance.

FCF, a British-based mining contractor, has been tasked by the national government through a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA), to undertake the multibillion-peso Runruno Gold-Molybdenum Project here.

Valenciano said the initial capital assistance was provided by FCF and that the ensuing capital build-up is now lodged with the officers elected from among the members of each livelihood organizations.

FCF records showed that the beneficiaries of its livelihood program are the Vegetable Growers Association, Busat Upland Farmers Association, Tayab Women’s association, Compound Women’s Association, Dumaliguia Rattan Makers Association, Dumaliguia Women’s Association, Marangad Rural workers Association, Dipilipig Development Association, Kinalabas Rural Workers Association, Bit-ang Women’s Livelihood Association, Cabinuangan Highlander Association, Malilibeg Pagbiagan Association, Baddang Kiphodan Association and the Runruno Gold Panners Association.

“Our company’s provision of livelihood projects is a commitment to help villagers who were not able to secure employment from our company due to their lack of skills and other qualifications,” Valenciano said.

FCF officials said the mining firm is in its construction phase where a need of manpower has increased tremendously employing more than 1,000 workers.

She explained that these projects are also primarily implemented to respond to an expected demands for goods and services as a result of the influx of mining workers in the community.

Besides the provision of livelihood projects to villagers, Valenciano said the company provides the needed management skills and other trainings to empower these micro-entrepreneurship organizations.

“We will see to it that the recipients of the firm’s livelihood projects will continue to operate and sustain their businesses even when the mining contract with the government has expired and that mining activities have stopped,” she said.

by LEANDER C. DOMINGO, The Manila Times.

June 30th: RTG Mining Inc hits high grade gold, copper, iron in Philippines.

The Mabilo Project is located in the Camarines Norte Province, Eastern Luzon, Philippines.

Dual-listed RTG Mining Inc (ASX:RTG, TSX:RTG) has once again delivered some high grade copper, gold and iron hits from drilling at Mabilo in the Philippines.

Interestingly, the management of the company includes ex-CGA Mining’s Justine Magee who is CEO, and who was part of the team that successfully developed the Masbate Gold Mine.

B2Gold Corp. (TSE:BTO) is one of its major shareholders in the company, which is in the S&P/TSX Global Gold and Global Mining Indices.

The intercepts were from both the North and South Mineralized Zones at the Mabilo Project and included:

- 47.05 metres at 1.64g/t gold, 1.40% copper and 55.76% iron;
- 18.00 metres at 3.12g/t gold, 1.25% copper and 42.16% iron; and
- 18.15 metres at 3.29g/t gold, 0.80% copper and 41.73% iron

Drilling results would seem to advance the geological understanding and highlight down dip potential and extensions to the system in the north and south zones.

The Mabilo Project is located in the Camarines Norte Province, Eastern Luzon, Philippines, and comprises one granted Exploration Permit (EP-014-2013-V) of 498 hectares and Exploration Permit Application EXPA-000188-V of 2,820 hectares.

Mabilo project area is relatively flat and is easily accessed by 15 kilometres of all-weather road from the highway at the nearby town of Labo.

by Proactive Investors

June 29th: SC rules miners foreign-owned.

THE SUPREME COURT (SC) has barred three mining firms from operating in the Philippines for failing to comply with the ownership requirements set by the Constitution.

The high court, in a 31-page decision, found that Narra Nickel Mining and Development Corp., Tesoro Mining and Development, Inc., and McArthur Mining, Inc. are effectively controlled by MBMI Resources, Inc. a Canadian firm.

“We of this Court note that a grave violation of the Constitution… is being committed by a foreign corporation right under our country’s nose through a myriad of corporate layering under different, allegedly, Filipino corporations,” Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco wrote.

The case originated from Redmont Consolidated Mines Corp.’s decision to seek exertion concessions in Palawan province, only to find that the three companies had Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) applications with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which were later granted.

A year later, Redmont questioned the mining company’s ownership before DENR’s panel of arbitrators and sought the revocation of their MPSAs. The arbitrators, in a December 2007 ruling, revoked the MPSAs granted to the three firms for “being foreign corporations.”

The Mines and Adjudication Board (MAB), however, reversed the arbitrators, which led Redmont to seek a review of the MAB decision before the Court of Appeals (CA).

The CA granted Redmont’s plea, ruling the MBMI “owned majority of the common stocks of the three firms as well as at least 60% equity interest of other majority shareholders of petitioners through joint venture agreements.”

The appellate court decision led the mining companies to seek relief before the Supreme Court.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said: “Corporate layering is admittedly allowed by the FIA (Foreign Investments Act); but if it is used to circumvent the Constitution and pertinent laws, then it becomes illegal.”

Applying the “grandfather rule,” the Supreme Court ruled MBMI owns 60% or more of their equity interests.

“In effect, whether looking at the capital structure or the underlying relationships between and among corporations, petitioners are not Filipino nationals and must be considered foreign since 60% or more of their capital stock or equity interest are owned by MBMI,” the Supreme Court said.

In determining Filipino ownership, the stricter “grandfather rule” examines the nationality of stockholders. The more lenient “control test” on the other hand declares a corporation of Philippine nationality if its capital is at least 60% owned by Filipinos.

“Obviously, the instant case presents a situation which exhibits a scheme employed by stockholders to circumvent the law, creating a cloud of doubt in the Court’s mind. To determine, therefore, the actual participation, direct or indirect of MBMI, the grandfather rule must be used,” the high court said.

The MPSA, under the Mining Act of 1995, allows 60% foreign ownership while a financial or technical assistance agreement (FTAA) allows for 100% foreign ownership.

The Office of the President, in a 2010 decision, likewise canceled MBMI’s FTAA for violating the Constitution.

By Mikhail Franz E. Flores, Business Mirror


LONDON: 26 JUNE 2014 – ECR Minerals plc is pleased to provide the following update on activities at the Itogon gold project, Philippines.


* ECR to carry out second phase of drilling at Itogon project following positive results of initial phase announced 29 May 2014; highlights included a mineralised interval (apparent width) of 18m at 17.14 g/t gold from surface (inc. 2m at 119.53 g/t gold)

* Planning for second phase of drilling now underway utilising 3D modelling of first phase results

* Other exploration activities ongoing during June and July 2014 include surface and underground channel sampling, the main objective of which is to confirm extensions of the epithermal gold mineralisation in the main prospect area at Itogon along strike and laterally

Stephen Clayson, Chief Executive Officer of ECR, commented:

“As planning of the next phase of drilling for the Itogon project takes place other exploration activities are continuing and will generate valuable additional data. The next phase of drilling, like the activities now taking place, will be designed to continue our evaluation of the project’s economic potential in a cost effective manner.”

Summary of June/July 2014 Exploration Activities – Itogon Gold Project

* Continued detailed geological mapping of main prospect area, at surface and underground

* Channel sampling and trenching focused primarily on confirming extensions of the mineralisation at surface in the main prospect area at Itogon both laterally and to the southeast of the most southeasterly first phase ECR drill holes; more than one hundred samples have been sent to an accredited independent laboratory for analysis, with assay results expected in July 2014

* Underground channel sampling within small scale workings

* Dewatering of an adit at the southeastern end of the main prospect area to allow access for mapping and sampling

* Profile surveying to generate data for ECR’s digital elevation model of the main prospect area

* First pass mapping and sampling of a separate area of quartz veining and small scale underground workings identified to the west of the main prospect area

A map showing the extent of surface channel sampling and trenching by ECR at the Itogon project as of 20 June 2014 may be viewed here:



ECR is a mineral exploration and development company with, among other interests, the right to earn a 50% interest in the Itogon gold project in the Philippines. Itogon is an advanced exploration project located in a gold and copper mining district on the island of Luzon in the north of the Philippines.

ECR has a 100% interest in the Sierra de las Minas gold project in La Rioja Province, Argentina, the exploration strategy for which is to delineate multiple high grade, low tonnage deposits suitable for advancement to production on a relatively low capital, near term basis.

ECR holds a substantial minority stake in THEMAC Resources Group Ltd (TSX-V: MAC), which is focused on the development of the Copper Flat copper-molybdenum-gold-silver porphyry project in New Mexico, USA.


ECR Minerals plc Tel:  +44 (0)20 7929 1010

Paul Johnson, Non-Executive Chairman

Stephen Clayson, Director & Chief Executive Officer

Email: info@ecrminerals.com

Website: www.ecrminerals.com

Daniel Stewart & Company plc Tel:  +44 (0)20 7776 6550

David Hart/Harrison Clarke (Nominated Adviser)

Colin Rowbury (Broker)


This announcement may include forward looking statements. Such statements may be subject to a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and therefore actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements.

Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements. Any forward looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date hereof (unless stated otherwise) and, except as may be required by applicable laws or regulations (including the AIM Rules for Companies), the Company disclaims any obligation to update or modify such forward looking statements as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason.
Short Name: ECR Minerals plc

Category Code: MSC

Sequence Number: 422396

Time of Receipt (offset from UTC): 20140626T145923+0100

ECR Minerals plc


June 26th: Kalinga’s small-scale miners now employ mercury-free methods.

SMALL-SCALE miners in the village of Ga-ang in Kalinga are now 95 percent operating without the use of mercury. This translates to the non-release of at least two tons of toxic mercury during the mining process.

This was disclosed by the environment group Ban Toxics (BT) as part of its three-year intervention from 2011 to 2014 in Kalinga, a province of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), to use Mercury-free methods in processing gold.

The activity is part of BT’s Elimination of Mercury in Artisanal Small-Scale Mining (ASGM) Program. BT said this provides proof that given the proper training, information and assistance, small-scale miners will forego the use of mercury.

In a program on June 17 with the theme “Kayang kaya ng maliliit na minerong Pilipino!” (The Filipino small-scale miner can!), invited local miners and BT staff shared their experiences in introducing mercury-free mining methods to the small-scale miners of Ga’ang. A key to this success was the transition of the Banao Tribe to mercury-free mining.

“The success of our efforts would not be possible without the miners’ openness to change, the local government’s support and the wisdom of the elders of the Banao-Bodong Association [BBA] to understand the problem and act on it,” BT Executive Director Richard Gutierrez said.

In addition to providing technical training to miners, BT assisted the BBA in amending their rules that explicitly bans the use of mercury in Ga’ang. For its part, the local government of Kalinga also passed an executive order in 2013 that prohibits the use of mercury in all mining activities. Mercury use in small-scale mining was banned by Executive Order 79 in 2012.

In a press statement, BT said United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) National Program Officer Teddy Monroy was present at the event on behalf of Unido Country Representative Fakhruddin Azizi. The Unido and BT, together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Health, and international partners Dialogos and the US Department of State, launched a project in 2013 in Pasil, Kalinga to complement the success in Ga’ang.

“The objectives of the project are aligned with the Unido’s vision of promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development by creating shared prosperity and safeguarding the environment,” Monroy said.

“The BT program of activities in Kalinga shows that this vision is achievable and the Unido fully supports these initiatives. Rest assured that the Unido will continue to support the Philippine government and its development programs for the long-term benefit of the Filipino people,” he said.

The Ga’ang miners are now using the Benguet method, an enhanced traditional technique utilizing gravity and borax predominantly used in Benguet, and has been popularized by BT in the Philippines and in other parts of the world.

“Our Kalinga experience is proof that the Pinoy small-scale miners will go away from mercury if they are given the proper knowledge, tools, training and support” Gutierrez said.

Mercury has been used by miners all over the Philippines with no precautionary measures to protect them, their communities and the environment. In 2011 a test conducted by the Research and Development and Laboratory Services Section of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) found there is a significant amount of mercury present in Chico River. The BT statement said according to a study conducted by the United Nations Environment Program, artisanal and small-scale gold mining is the single largest mercury-emitting sector in the world. The DENR-EMB estimates the annual mercury discharge in the Philippines at around 70 metric tons.

The Ga’ang project was launched in 2010 and was done in partnership with Dialogos, University of Copenhagen, GEUS and ICOPEH.

BT promotes environmental justice in the Philippines and the Asian region to ensure that developing countries in the region do not bear a disproportionate burden of pollution coming from developed countries.

Written by Marilou Guieb / Correspondent – http://businessmirror.com.ph

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