QUEZON, Nueva Vizcaya —British-owned firm FCF Minerals Corp., which runs the gold mine in Barangay Runruno here, is now under commercial operations after getting approval from the regional Mines and Geosciences Bureau based in Tuguegarao City.
Mario Ancheta, MGB regional director, said FCF Minerals Corp. went on commercial operation since the second semester of last year after submission of their Declaration of Commencement of Commercial Operations (DCCO) in September 2016, which underwent validation and debugging to ensure their compliance on mining standards.
The company’s DCCO was signed in July 17, 2017.
“FCF submitted their Declaration of Commencement of Commercial Operations (DCCO) in September 2016, but we needed to conduct validation and wait for the results of its debugging (test run),” he said.
Ancheta said they earlier issued a partial suspension on its construction works particularly on its Residual Storage Impoundment after it was being damaged by Typhoon Lando in 2015.
“We cannot allow mining companies in Cagayan Valley region to continue for lack of compliance with our existing laws and regulations in mining,” he added.
Ancheta said that the company has already complied the demand of the bureau to present a rehabilitation plan on its RSI and a clean-up plan on its Malilibeg dumpsite which eventually lifted their suspension in April 2015.
“We lifted the suspension for rehabilitation purposes with corresponding conditions that are part of the lifting order,” he added.
FCF Minerals started its mining operations after more than a decade of exploration and development.
Based on the Feasibility Study of the company, it confirms the viability of the project that intends to extract an average of 96,700 ounces of gold per annum within 10 years of mine life.
Ancheta said their strong enforcement of mining laws and regulations was also supported by Runruno Operations Manager, Peter Storey who earlier assured the various stakeholders of their full cooperation and compliance to mining laws and environmental regulations.
“It is committed to the effective stewardship, protection, and enhancement of the resource endowments in and around the areas where it operates and conducts its business in a manner which will continuously uphold human development and dignity,” he added.
FCF Minerals is the second large-scale mine in the Cagayan Valley region. The other mining firm, OceanaGold Philippines Incorporated, an Australian mining firm with gold-copper project is in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino provinces that started its commercial operations in 2013.
During the first quarter of 2009, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) endorsed to then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo the application for large-scale mine operation of FCF Minerals.
In March 2009, then DENR Secretary Jose Atienza Jr. endorsed the conversion of the exploration permit into a Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA). The agreement has a term of 25 years and renewable for another term not exceeding 25 years.
An FTAA contract granted the company the exclusive rights to explore, mine, utilize, and transport the mineral products from the contract area. The FTAA of FCF was signed on Sept. 19, 2009.
“Series of exploration activities were conducted by the company. FCF Minerals has also filed in MGB Region II their application for Sworn Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (DMPF) with complete mandatory requirements. After conducting our initial evaluation, we endorsed said application to our central office for further review,” Ancheta the MGB Cagayan Valley regional director said.
In October 18, 2011, DENR approved their DMPF that costs $700 million which led to the conduct of its development stage activities.
FCF has already spent $ 149 million for its construction and development stage, aside from other projects committed by the mining company as part of their Community Development Program.