Hi all,

Please note that the long awaited DENR audit is out & in general it is
seen as a good thing, as noted by Engteng in first release below. The
headlines are 20 mining firms recommended for suspension although the
inevitable due process means it is a recommendation, with time for
companies to get their act together.

——————-

Green groups laud ‘political will’ of DENR mining audit

Kalikasan PNE press release

27 September 2016

The recent mining audit spearheaded by Environment Secretary Gina Lopez
is a demonstration of what political will can do.

The suspension orders previously slapped by the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on seven (7) large-scale
metallic mines have been upheld, while 23 other mines have been
recommended for suspension and ordered to show cause why their
operations should not be suspended.

Among these suspended mines are corporations notorious for violating
environmental, land, social, and human rights policies, including five
of what we have earlier deemed as the 10 worst big mines, namely
Australian-Canadian firm OceanaGold in Nueva Vizcaya, Citinickel Mines
in Palawan, DMCI in Zambales, Hinatuan Mining in Eastern Samar, and
South African firm Goldfields-Lepanto in Benguet. Another firm,
Canadian-owned Filminera Resources, has been recommended for suspension
as well.

We in the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE)
warmly welcome these positive results of Sec. Lopez’s mining audit as a
validation of both the long-standing people’s resistance against
destructive large-scale mining and its mining liberalization policy, and
the marching orders of the Duterte administration to take to task these
irresponsible mining corporations.

We see two important revelations brought about by Sec. Lopez’s mining
audit. First, the various offenses irresponsible mining companies have
gotten away with murder in the past two administrations. The past Arroyo
and Aquino administrations have been lax in implementing environmental
regulations and has been covering up the violations of big and foreign
mining companies.

Second, the alarming fact that some mining companies that are known
environmental criminals were able to pass the audit demonstrated how
even a maverick pro-environment leadership in the DENR is limited by the
very nature of our country’s mining and environmental policies that
promotes the opening up of our mineral resources to unfettered,
rapacious, and export-oriented extraction.

Philex Mining, for instance, which caused one of the biggest mining
disasters in Philippine history back in 2012 but did not sufficiently
rehabilitate affected areas and compensate affected communities, passed
the audit. Taganito Mining, a notorious polluter in the CARAGA region,
also avoided suspension. Both companies are among the ten worst mines we
identified.

This stands as a challenge to the Philippine Senate and the House of
Representatives to support Sec. Lopez’s environmental crusade by finally
passing House Bill 2715 or the People’s Mining Bill, a progressive
legislation that aims to reorient the mining industry away from mining
liberalization and plunder towards a needs-based utilization of mineral
resources framed on national industrialization, environmental safety,
and people’s rights and welfare.

In the immediate, the people’s environmental and social movements are
ready and willing to support the DENR’s audit by supplementing their
report with further concrete evidence on the ground. We can work
together towards ensuring these erring mining companies that are
repeated offenders are held accountable and eventually permanently closed.

Rest assured, the Filipino people will back the Duterte administration
if it continues to pursue the people’s environmental agenda.#

Reference: Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator, Kalikasan PNE – 0905
432 5211

National Secretariat
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 02 433 0184 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site:
www.kalikasan.net

——————————–

20 mining firms recommended for suspension – DENR

Environment officials bare the results of their audit on mining
operations in the country

Jee Y. Geronimo

27 September 2016

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Department of Environment and
Natural Resources (DENR) announced on Tuesday, September 27, that it has
recommended the suspension of 20 mining firms following the completion
of its audit of mining operations in the country.

Environment Undersecretary Leo Jasareno made the announcement in a news
briefing where he and Environment Secretary Gina Lopez presented the
results of the audit.

Among those recommended for suspension are the following:

Libjo Mining Corporation
AAM-Phil Natural Resources Exploration and Development
Corporation – Parcel 1 and Parcel 2B
Krominco Incorporated
Carrascal Nickel Corporation
Marcventures Mining ‬and Development Corporation‪
Filminera‬ Resources Corporation‪
Strongbuilt Mining Development Corporation
Sinosteel ‬Philippines HY Mining Corporation
Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation
Wellex ‬Mining Corporation
Century Peak ‬Corporation – Rapid City Nickel Project and
Casiguran Nickel Project
Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corporation
CTP Construction and Mining Corporation
Agata ‬Mining Ventures Incorporated
Hinatuan Mining‬ Corporation
Benguet Corporation
Lepanto ‬Consolidated Mining Company
OceanaGold ‬Phils, Incorporated
Adnama Mining Resources, Incorporated
SR ‬Metals, Incorporated

Jasareno said the most common violations are siltation, dust, no
tree-cutting permits, and unsystematic mining methods.

These mining firms will be given a show cause order and will be asked to
answer within 7 days upon receiving the order.

“I want to make it clear, I have no beef with mining, but I’m vehemently
against adverse effects that may happen, that are happening,” Lopez said
on Tuesday.

“For a hundred years, we turned a blind eye. I don’t even blame it on
the mining industry; it’s because we at DENR have been lax.”

On Tuesday, Jasareno also revealed the 11 mining firms that are not
recommended for suspension, but will continue to be monitored. They are:

Philex Mining Corporation‪
Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation‬
Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation‬
Techiron Resources Incorporated
Cagdianao Mining Corporation‬
Taganito Mining Corporation‬
Platinum Group Metals Corporation‬
Greenstone Resources Corporation
Philsaga Mining Corporation‬
Pacific Nickel Philippines, Incorporated
Apex Mining Company Incorporated

Jasareno explained that while these firms are not recommended for
suspension, they also have to correct their infractions.

The DENR has already suspended the mining operations of 10 firms,
bringing the total of all metallic operating mines in the country to 41.

Jasareno said there are about 18 nickel mines from the 30 mining firms
that are already suspended or recommended for suspension. About 55.5% of
the country’s nickel production as of 2015 are attributed to these mines.

Lopez said she will meet with mining firms that have “failed” and
“passed” the audit on Thursday, September 29.

“At the end of the day, what we want is a mining industry that is much,
much more committed to the common good,” she added. – Rappler.com

———————–

Philippines Says Only Quarter of Mines Pass Nationwide Audit

Andreo Calonzo & Cecilia Yap

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-27/philippines-says-only-10-of-40-mines-pass-nationwide-audit

27 September 2016

The Philippines said about three-quarters of its mining industry is
falling short after an environmental audit in the world’s top nickel
producer, with 20 mines facing suspension unless they can respond to the
shortcomings within days, on top of the 10 already halted. Nickel prices
rebounded.

The nickel mines already shut together with those now recommended for
suspension accounted for 56 percent of production by value last year,
Environment Undersecretary Leo Jasareno told reporters in Manila on
Tuesday. He presented the findings of the checkup at a briefing with
Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, saying only 11 mines had passed. The
country has 41 metallic mines, mostly nickel, together with suppliers of
copper and gold, according to a revised presentation by the government.

“The critical thing is that the resources of the country will be
utilized in a way that benefits the greater majority,” Lopez told the
briefing. She plans to meet on Thursday with miners that haven’t passed
the test before making a final decision on their status, as well as
those that did.

Nickel has been the best-performing metal on the Bloomberg Commodity
Index this quarter on concern that the audit will disrupt ore shipments
as mines are closed, adding to supply pressures in a market bolstered by
projections for a global deficit. The Philippines accounts for about a
quarter of global mined nickel supply, with most cargoes feeding China’s
stainless-steel industry. The probe was ordered by new President Rodrigo
Duterte and Lopez in July to check on compliance.

Price Rebound

Nickel rose 1.4 percent to $10,675 a metric ton on the London Metal
Exchange at 2:58 p.m. in Manila after earlier falling as much as 2.7
percent. Prices surged to $11,030 a ton last month as the audit got
under way, the highest in a year, and nickel has outperformed all other
metals on the Bloomberg Commodity Index this quarter.

“I want to make it clear, I have no beef against the mining industry but
I am against the adverse effects happening in some of the situations,”
said Lopez, adding that those recommended for suspension now needed to
get their act together. “I want to be better than Canada, better than
Australia,’ she said.

The presentation of the audit was light on details addressing the
standards on which miners were judged, according to Daniel Hynes, senior
commodities strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. “My
first impressions are that it won’t have much immediate impact, but with
no real clarity it would be a bit lax to assume all is going to be OK
over the medium or longer term,” he said by phone. “The impact or the
potential impact warrants a premium on prices.”

Shares React

In Manila, companies with operations recommended for suspension dropped,
while producers outside the country gained. Marcventures Holdings Inc.,
whose nickel mine in Surigao del Sur province is set for suspension, and
Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. both sank 14 percent. In Hong Kong,
Glencore Plc gained as much as 2.4 percent, while Australia’s
Independence Group NL added 5.6 percent in Sydney.

Citigroup Inc. had played down the likely impact of the audit in a
quarterly commodities report received on Monday even as the bank
forecast global nickel deficits through at least 2020. The larger nickel
miners probably won’t affected by the closures and may even increase
output, according to the bank.

The Philippines’ principal mining group has challenged the legitimacy of
the checkup, saying there were anti-industry campaigners among the
personnel that assessed suppliers. The teams didn’t act as impartial
auditors, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines told Bloomberg last
week. At the time, neither Lopez nor Jasareno responded to the claims.

The country produced 467,000 tons of nickel last year, 24 percent of the
global mined total of 1.93 million tons, according to a quarterly report
from Morgan Stanley. There was a cumulative global deficit 42,500 tons
in the first seven months of the year, the International Nickel Study
Group said in September.

The Philippines has “kicked the can down the road,” according to a note
from Matt France, head of Asia institutional sales for metals at Marex
Spectron Group. “No definitive outcome yet but nothing bearish here that
I can see.”

———————–

Big miners confident audit will vindicate them

Janina C. Lim , Reporter

http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=big-miners-confident-audit-will-vindicate-them&id=133979

27 September 2016

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to
release today the results of its mine audit, with miners positive about
the long-term impact of stricter environmental standards, even as
uncertainty over future suspensions hangs over the industry, which is
the world’s top nickel exporter.

In an open letter to President Rodrigo R. Duterte published on Monday,
the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CoMP) said that the
administration’s push to raise environmental standards is expected to
“establish a stable business climate by allowing only responsible miners
to operate in the country.”

The big miners also expressed optimism that the audit results will be in
their favor.

“We are still fairly confident that it would be positive for us. Based
on (the) audit team’s visit, there were no serious concerns raised with
us,” said Francis G. Ballesteros, Jr., head of the Public and Regulatory
Affairs at the county’s top gold producer, Philex Mining Corp., in a
phone interview.

Dante R. Bravo, president of Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc., the
second largest nickel miner by output, said that the company is
confident it will receive an endorsement from the regulator because it
continues to comply with government requirements on the environment,
safety and health, social development, and tenement maintenance.

Asked if the report will remove an element of uncertainty hanging over
the industry, Mr. Bravo said: “Hopefully. But we cannot rejoice when
some members of the industry are going to be hit as that would create a
negative sentiment within the industry.”

Suspension for mines would translate to displaced employees,
discontinuation of social development efforts at the local level, and a
halt in investment, among others, according to Mr. Bravo.

For one analyst, the ongoing crackdown against irresponsible mining has
been beneficial for the big stakeholders.

“Actually the big miners, like PX (Philex Mining) and NIKL (Nickel Asia
Corp.), especially, benefited from the pronouncement. More nickel mines
closing means more pressure to supply which may jack up prices. So
investors fled to the safer mining companies,” said Ralph Christian G.
Bodollo, equity research analyst at RCBC Securities, Inc., in a text
message.

With the DENR signaling more mine suspensions, Mr. Bodollo noted that
“surprises are possible, and hence tension may exist for miners and
investors alike.”

GFNi and the top nickel supplier Nickel Asia, said that they have not
laid out business plans in connection with the anticipated results.

So far, the Environment Department has halted 10 mine operations, eight
of which account for 8% of the country’s nickel output. The department,
in a Sept. 21 briefing, said at least 12 more mines could face suspension.

In addition, Environment Undersecretary Leo L. Jasareno, who heads the
audit team, said in a phone interview that the agency may also release
the validated results of the responses of the four companies issued with
show cause letters to explain why their environmental compliance
certificate should not be revoked.

These companies are Sagittarius Mines, Inc., Century Communities, Inc.,
Semirara Mining and Power Corp., and Austral-Asia Link Mining Corp.

Semirara told the stock exchange on Sept. 20 that based on the report it
requested from the regional office of the Environmental Management
Bureau, the coal-producing firm’s Molave Expansion Project “shows full
compliance to environmental laws.”

The COMP, in addition, warned of possible calls from industry for the
Environment Department to conduct another round of audits if many fail
in the social aspects of the examination, citing outside interference by
organizations that are less than “impartial.”

“If we see that a lot of companies are found deficient in the social
acceptability or community aspect, there might be call for another
review,” said Ronald S. Recidoro, vice-president of the CoMP’s Legal &
Policy Division in a phone interview on Monday.

In its open letter to the president, the CoMP noted that “the mine audit
conducted was not totally impartial” with the inclusion of the
anti-mining civil society organization Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) and
their allied grassroots organizations.

Should the government conduct mine reviews in the future, the CoMP
requested that the audit “be kept impartial, free from any bias, and
only involving only DENR personnel and acknowledged experts in the
fields relevant for the review.”

However, Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez stressed that the ATM
does not have an anti-mining agenda but opposes “irresponsible mining”
in particular.

She added in her text message that “all our decisions are based on
sciences and not fanaticism.”

For his part, Francis G. Ballesteros said that the Environment
department should make the original reports publicly available and
accessible “in the spirit of transparency.”

Mr. Jasareno assured that the reports provided by the mine audit teams
prior the validation done by the agency, will be accessible as it is
part of due process.

__._,_.___

Posted by: Andy Whitmore <whit@gn.apc.org>