TUGUEGARAO, Cagayan—The Mines and Geosciences Bureau regional office here has clarified the continued operation of an Australian-Canadian miner in Nueva Vizcaya is “in accordance with the law.”
MGB Region 2 Director Mario Ancheta has reacted to misconceptions of some local government officials in Cagayan Valley questioning the continued transport of concentrated ore by the OceanaGold to Poro Point in La Union province.
Local government officials including environmental groups have expressed confusion on the continued operation of OceanaGold despite suspension order by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Ancheta said the ongoing operation of OceanaGold’s Didipio Gold and Copper Project in Kasibu town in Nueva Vizcaya is “legitimate and does not violate the order of suspension” from the DENR.
He said the company was allowed to resume operation after it appealed to the Office of the President in accordance with Administrative Order No. 22.
In the continued operation OceanaGold, Ancheta cited AO 22 which states that “the execution of the decision, resolution or order appealed from is stayed upon the filing of the Notice of Appeal within the prescribed period.”
Under the same AO, Ancheta said, the Office of the President may direct or stay the execution of the decision, resolution or order appealed from at any time during the pendency of the appeal.
David Way, OceanaGold’s DGCP general manager, said that on February 14, they received the suspension order, dated February 8, from DENR Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez which called for the suspension of the company’s Didipio operation.
He explained that after receiving the suspension order, the company filed an appeal directly with the Office of the President which stayed the order.
“In accordance with the rules and regulations, OceanaGold appealed to the Office of the President which stayed the execution of the suspension order allowing to continue operating during the appeals process,” Way said.
Way said there have been allegations of damage to houses because of blasting as well as potential adverse impacts to the agricultural areas and that the company was given three months to address the issues raised.
Defending the company’s responsible mining at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in Nueva Vizcaya, Way said OceanaGold for 27 years had a successful track record of standards on health, safety, environment, community and sustainability across all its operations including Didipio.
“I believe that our operations in the Didipio mine is the template for what President Duterte has always emphasized in his desire for a responsible mining sector in the Philippines,” Way said.