After a “well-studied review,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered the permanent closure of two mining companies for non-compliance with environmental laws and denial of the mineral production sharing agreements.
In a Nov. 12 decision, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources chief disclosed the highlights of the report of the technical review team tapped by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council, citing Claver Mineral Development Corp., Oriental Synergy and Ore Asia as “most problematic for majority of the aspects reviewed.”
He affirmed the cancellation of the MPSAs of Claver Mineral Development Council and Oriental Synergy Mining Corp., and denied the MPSA application of Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp.
He directed the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau to implement the recommendations of the MICC.
The MICC report also recommended the conduct of a case study on the economic analysis of Benguet Corp.; Oriental Vision Mining Philippine Corp.; Hinatuan Mining Corp.; Zambales’ Benguet Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc. and Zambales Diversified Mineral, and Strongbuilt Mining Development Corp.
“The report generally showed that for the majority of mining companies, improvements in technical and environmental management practices need to continue and scale up,” the DENR said.
“It should be noted that the report also acknowledged that there had been efforts by at least half of the companies to rectify and correct inappropriate practices,” it added.
Out of the 13 mine firms that were ordered to shut down by then DENR secretary Gina Lopez in February 2017, nine of them -- Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., Krominco Inc., Mt. Sinai Exploration and Development Corp., Libjo Mining Corp., Wellex Mining Corp. 1 and 2, Carrascal Nickel Corp., AAMPHIL Natural Resources Exploration and Development Corp., Strongbuilt Mining Development Corp. and Emir Mineral Resources Corp. were resolved to be suspended only.
“On top of the payment of the fines and penalties, these companies were directed to undertake corrective measures within a timetable. Failure to implement these measures will result in the reinstatement of the cancellation order previously issued to these companies,” Cimatu warned.
He issued another resolution lifting the suspension order for Berong Nickel Corp. subject to implementation of corrective measures.
“The decisions made by the DENR were a product of well-studied review. It largely used the findings based on the report, “Objective, Fact-Finding and Science-Based Review of the Performance of Twenty-Six  Mining Companies” of the technical review teams commissioned by the MICC. THE MICC-TRTs was tasked to conduct a multi-stakeholder review to advise the DENR on the performance of existing mining companies,” Cimatu’s resolution read.
He said when he took over the DENR in May 2018, he was confronted with the unresolved motions for reconsideration on the suspension and cancellation orders issued by his predecessor.
“In order to gather the necessary data and justification of any decision regarding the suspension and cancellation, the third party audit by experts was utilized,” Cimatu said.
The MICC review covered 19 nickel mines, three gold and copper mines, three chromite mines, and two magnetic and iron mines on their legal, technical, environmental, social and economic aspects.
In February 2017, Lopez ordered the closure of 23 mining companies and suspended five for various environmental violations.
Only 13 mining firms filed their respective motions for reconsideration with the DENR.