August 29th: Oriental Peninsula gets 2 investors
Nickel miner Oriental Peninsula Resources Inc. said it will raise P926.5 million from the private placement of two new investors.
Oriental Peninsula said in a disclosure to the stock exchange it would sign in the third quarter the subscription of P700 million worth of shares by Redmont Consolidated Mines Corp. and P226.5 million worth of shares by Suncorp Mines and Development Corp.
Oriental Peninsula plans to issue a total of 926.5 million primary shares to the two companies at P1 apiece.
Proceeds from the fund-raising activity will be used to liquidate the company’s P926.5-million debt to major shareholder Citimax Group Inc.
Oriental Peninsula said with the subscription, Redmont would now own 29.43 percent of the company while Suncorp will have 9.52-percent share.
Ownership of the mining firm’s existing shareholders, namely Citimax, Golden Spin Realty Inc. and Billion Apex Development Ltd. will drop as a result of the private placement.
At the same time, the company’s public float will decrease to 19.89 percent.
Oriental Peninsula is focused on the mining operations of subsidiary, Citinickel Mines and Development Corp.
Currently, the company has a 94-percent equity interest in Citinickel, which is the sole claim owner of the Pulot Mine and the Toronto Mine located in the province of Palawan, namely in the towns of Sofronio Espanola and Narra.
By Jenniffer B. Austria, Manila Standard Today
August 29th: DENR shuts down illegal Negros town gold mines
CEBU CITY—The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has ordered the closure of gold mining and processing operations in Santa Catalina town, Negros Oriental province, for violating mining and environmental laws.
Loreto Alburo, MGB director for Central Visayas, said the mining operations were illegal and violated Executive Order No. 79 issued by President Aquino.
Alburo said the regional MGB found workers using mercury, which is banned by EO 79.
He said the mines on at least 500 hectares in three communities in Santa Catalina were also found to be using rod mills without permits.
Prior to the issuance of the MGB order, Alburo said MGB officials attended a dialogue on Aug. 14 at the municipal hall with 60 of the mining operators led by Raul Lapu, town officials led by Mayor Nathaniel Electona, and village chief Abundio Amil Jr.
In the meeting, the mining operators were informed that there would be a closure order.
Amil said the barangay (village) had padlocked the rod mills in May but the operators forcibly opened these.
The MGB also took into consideration a petition started by a certain Jezebel Tilos, addressed to the mayor and signed by at least 100 residents, demanding a stop to the mining operations.
The petition said the mining operations were contaminating water sources, destroying mountains and “damaging forest resources.”
Eddie Llamedo, regional spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), said the DENR sought help in enforcing the MGB order from the military and police.
Llamedo said that once the mining operations were shut down, the MGB would conduct a detailed study of the area’s mining potential.
After the study, he said, the DENR would help small-scale miners acquire permits for the area to be declared as a “people’s small-scale mining area.”
“We will implement corrective measures there. We also want to help them. We will help them have a safe facility for small-scale mining,” he said.
Llamedo said EO 79 allows small-scale mining in areas declared as sites for “people’s mines.”
By Carmel Loise Matus |Inquirer Visayas.
August 29th: Caraga miners to get incentives.
MANILA, Philippines – Miners in the Caraga region will receive incentive pay on top of their daily basic wage after the labor department ordered the implementation of a two-tiered wage system (TTWS) for the local mining industry.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB) issued an advisory for the implementation of the wage system.
“The wage system, though voluntary, will bring more benefits to workers and management,” Baldoz said.
She said the TTWS encourages mining companies to provide their workers with productivity-based incentives or benefits such as production, zero-accident, longevity and attendance incentive schemes.
“The RTWPB Caraga is also mandated to provide capacity-building and consulting services to legitimate mining enterprises that grant incentives to their workers,” Baldoz said.
Baldoz said studies show that productivity-based pay schemes result in higher levels of productivity for competitiveness and preserves and generates gainful employment.
The TTWS is the labor department’s wage policy reform to protect poor and vulnerable workers.
The region’s mining industry generated 18,828 jobs in 2012, higher by 17 percent than the previous year.
Labor officials attributed the increase in job generation to the operation of two new mining ventures in the region.
Baldoz said the advisory on the implementation of the TTWS for mining is timely and appropriate.
By Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star)
August 28th: MGB-12 grants mining firm authority to explore SouthCot, Sarangani.
GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 28 Aug) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 12 has granted authority to another mining company to explore the mineral-rich mountains of South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces.
Constancio Paye Jr., MGB Region 12 director, said Thursday they issued a permit to 88 Kiamba Mining and Development Corporation for the exploration of copper, gold and silver deposits within the boundary areas of the two provinces.
He said the exploration permit or EP No. 014-2014-XII, which was released last August 20, specifically covers a total of 7,047 hectares in the municipalities of Maitum, Kiamba and Maasim in Sarangani and Lake Sebu and T’boli in South Cotabato.
“We issued the exploration permit based on a clearance granted by the DENR central office,” he said in a statement.
Paye said 88 Kiamba’s exploration permit was the first that they issued in the region since the promulgation of the national government’s new mining policy as embodied in Executive Order (EO) 79 that was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on July 6, 2012.
EO 79 provided for the institutionalization and implementation of reforms in the mining sector and set the policies and guidelines “to ensure environmental protection and responsible mining in the utilization of mineral resources” in the country.
With the implementation of the new mining policy, the official said they adopted major changes in the filing and processing of mining applications.
“Previously, mining applications are filed in the regional office where the area applied is regionally located. But in the light of the DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2013-11, all mining applications are now filed at the MGB central office,” he said
Paye said the application is then forwarded to the concerned MGB regional office “after the applied area is cleared from areas closed to mining and the company has paid the pertinent filing and processing fees.”
He said the MGB regional office will then take the necessary evaluation on the basis of the provisions of DAO No. 2010-21 or the implementing rules of Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Law, EO 79 and other related guidelines.
The evaluation process focused on the timelines set for the completion of processing of the application, he said.
Paye said that under DAO 2013-10, the filing fee for the exploration permit increased from the previous P60 per hectare to P300.
He said the minimum authorized and paid-up capital requirements for mining applicants were also increased from P10 million to P100 million and from P2.5 million to P6.25 million, respectively.
MGB-12 records listed businessman Mohamad Aquia as the president of 88 Kiamba Mining and Development Corporation.
Aquia, who is a resident of Kiamba town in Sarangani, is a former head of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group-Mindanao.
A known ally of Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao, Aquia ran but lost his bid for vice governor of the province in the 2010 national and local elections.
Another company, Kiamba Mining Corporation (KMC), is currently conducting mining explorations in Kiamba town.
KMC holds the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) issued by the national government in June 2010 to the Cebu City-based Hard Rock Mineral Trading Inc.
MPSA-350-10-XII, which will expire in 2035, covers a mining area of 8,331 hectares that was noted for deposits of gold, silver and iron.
Several local groups have been opposing the operations of KMC and moves for the conversion of portions of the area’s public forest/ancestral lands/watershed” into mining areas.
The Coalition of Organizations to Save Kiamba Rainforest and the Natives Organization Worldwide opposed the proposed mining operations in the area, stressing it would eventually destroy the area’s rainforests and watersheds
August 27th: MICC opens small-scale black sand mining in ‘Yolanda Avenue’.
The Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) has agreed to open “Yolanda Avenue” (Samar and Leyte) for small-scale black sand mining to encourage the establishment of iron processing plants that will create thousands of jobs for Typhoon Yolanda survivors, create more value adding and develop the downstream iron and steel industry in the country.
Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo has initiated this initiative. Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, who supported Domingo’s proposal, also raised the need to declare “Minahang Bayan” in the “Yolanda Avenue”, consistent with the provision of Executive Order No. 790 that small-scale mining shall only be declared inside the “Minahang Bayan”.
On Friday’s MICC meeting, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima has proposed two conditions for the opening of the “Yolanda Avenue” citing the destructive nature of black sand mining.
The two conditions are: Go and no-go zones shall apply in the Yolanda Avenue and that go-zones within the Yolanda Avenue should still be subjected to certain conditions/guidelines on BSC.
Domingo stressed, however, that BSM becomes destructive only when big equipment are used. The intent of his proposal is to support individual operators that use manual labor/practice, and yield incomes of P1,000 per day.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Leo Jasareno also told the MICC that iron has been taken out in the SSM context under EO 79, thus, the need to seek an endorsement from the President to include iron/BSM as part of SSM.
Paje, however, clarified that BSM shall only be allowed in go zones and will be strictly prohibited in no-go zones (200 meters from the shoreline). Also, Paje said that the produce should not be for export as the opening up of the “Yolanda Avenue” to SSM black sand mining is to encourage entrepreneurs to establish iron processing plant in the area.
The opening up SSM black sand mining in the ‘Yolanda Avenue’ is closely tied up to the value adding efforts of the DTI under the “Downstream Industry Roadmap for Copper”, presented by the country’s lone copper smelter Pasar Corp., which is located in Isabel, Leyte.
The roadmap, which main objective is to establish a world-class copper mines, has encouraged the establishment of a “Green Domestic Manufacturing Zone” in Leyte to encourage industry clustering and to improve the poor profit margin in the operation of copper wire rod facility.
The roadmap has targeted the establishment of a copper wire rod facility, which is eligible for tax incentives under the 2014 Investment Priorities Plan.
The establishment of a copper wire rod facility will address the midstream supply chain gap. The industry clustering approach for copper may help reduce the high cost of power and transport when they sell to Pasar. Higher logistics costs make it more attractive for copper mines to export and for Pasar to import its copper requirements.
A memorandum for Domingo’s approval for the establishment of the “green Domestic Manufacturing Zone” in Leyte would involve the National Development Co., DTI’s investment arm, for the conduct a pre-feasibility study for the said zone, which has an initial timeframe of 2016-2020.
The Philippines has significant deposits of copper, reputed to be among the biggest in the world. Local copper concentrate production of existing copper mines at 376,106 MT in 2013 was less than the requirement of Pasar.
by Bernie Magkilat, Manila Bulletin.
August 28th: Gov’t lifts suspension on Philex’s Padcal mine
MANILA, Philippines – Two years after a breach in its drainage tunnel caused a disastrous spill of mining sediments into Benguet rivers, Philex Mining Corporation can now continue operations in its Padcal mine in Tuba, Benguet.
In a letter dated August 27, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Chief Leo Jasareno lifted the suspension on the gold and copper mine, saying impacts of the spill “have been substantially addressed to warrant the resumption of the normal operation of Philex.”
The letter noted the steps Philex had taken to provide reparation for damage, and rehabilitate and clean up the areas affected by the spill.
The company paid P1.034 billion (US$23.6 million*) in fine for discharging 20.7 million tons of tailings to the Balog and Agno Rivers – the biggest mining disaster in the country in terms of volume.
The company also paid P188.6 million ($4.3 million) to the Pollution Adjudication Board for the environmental damage caused by the spill.
It paid an additional P5 billion ($114.4 million) for the clean-up of waterways polluted by the spill, said Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.
The Tailings Storage Facility No 3, the tunnel that leaked allegedly because of torrential rains, has been sealed. The excess water containing mining sediments is now being discharged in an open spillway replacing the penstock system that failed and caused the spill, said Jasareno.
Philex had undertaken the proper remedial and rehabilitation measures, as concluded a report by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council, through a technical working group chaired by Presidential Adviser for Environment Protection Nereus Acosta.
The lifting order also took into consideration appeals from various stakeholders for the government to permanently lift the suspension order on Padcal.
The groups who petitioned include the Indigenous Peoples of Tuba and Itogon in Benguet and San Miguel and San Nicolas in Pangasinan who benefit from job opportunities in the mine and payment of royalty by Philex for use of their land.
Petitioners also include barangay councils of Benguet villages, church groups and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines Party List.
The mine’s drainage tunnel leaked on August 1, 2012 polluting nearby rivers and even rendering some of them unable to sustain life. The day after, the DENR-MGB issued a cease and desist order to stop the mine’s operations.
In July 2013, the government allowed Philex to temporarily resume operations while regulators reviewed their rehabilitation plan.
By Pia Ranada – Rappler.com