OceanaGold Philippines Inc., a unit of Australian miner OceanGold Corp., said Thursday it filed for an injunction to ensure that its operations continue in Didipio amid the “unauthorized restraint” of its operations by the provincial governor of Nueva Vizcaya.
The miner said in a statement the court would conduct a hearing for the injunction on July 10.
It said Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla ordered local government units to “restrain any operations” of the company. Subsequent to the governor’s order, a local government unit prevented a large supply truck from accessing the mine site on July 1, the company said.
“Operations continue at the mine, but the company proactively halted truck movements, including copper concentrate, to prevent the present situation from escalating further,” OceanaGold said.
It said that despite external disruptions, there was an uninterrupted supply of copper concentrate for shipment. “Light vehicles, people and food supplies continue to access the site,” it said.
OceanaGold said that it lodged its application for the renewal of the financial or technical assistance agreement with the Philippine government in March 2018 and received a confirmation on June 20, 2019 from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau that the Didipio Mine was permitted to continue operations pending the confirmation of the FTAA renewal.
“Authority over the Didipio operation remained with the national government since the Government Code of 1991 does not grant the power or authority to the provincial governor or any local government officer to restrain any aspect of the Didipio operation,” it said.
The company said it attempted engagement with the provincial government to resolve the current position but filed for an injunction “for lack of integrity on the local government’s side to recognize the legitimacy of Didipio’s continued right to operate”.
“The Didipio mine has delivered significant socio-economic benefits to the Barangay of Didipio, neighboring communities, the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino and the Philippines,” it said.
OceanaGold said the mine directly employs more than 1,500 workers of which 97 percent are Philippine nationals and 59 percent are from local communities while providing several thousands of additional livelihood opportunities and indirect jobs through partnerships with cooperatives and social development organizations.
“The company has operated to the highest of standards environmentally and socially for the past 30 years and has delivered significant value to shareholders and stakeholders and considers itself as a genuine partner with governments in promoting and advancing a responsible mining sector,” it said.