By Jed Macapagal January 19, 2017
“This week, we cancelled 6 ECCs”, Regina Lopez told reporters during a briefing in Quezon City.
The four mining firms include Intex Resources Phils. Inc.’s Mindoro nickel project; Forum Cebu Coal Corp.’s coal mining project; CEKAS Development Corp.’s iron, copper and other mineral mining project in Cagayan de Oro and Eaglerock Mining Corp.’s gold mining and processing project in Zamboanga del Sur.
“Intex is a mining project that was given with an ECC but was found inside a watershed. Everyone in Mindoro, all political parties, church and academe are vehemently against mining in that watershed so we are cancelling it,” Lopez said.
Meanwhile, the two other firms whose ECCs were cancelled are Mejore Wood Works Inc.’s integrated forest management agreement in Surigao del Sur and Alltech Contractors Inc.’s reclamation project in the Paranaque-Las Pinas coastal bay.
The environment chief also noted that the move to cancel the ECCs has legal basis since they are expired and would cause damage to the environment. All the six projects whose ECCs were cancelled are also not yet operational.
“They are not operational, these are lapsed ECCs. They are now being given notice that they cannot operate anymore unless they file new applications for EIA (environmental impact assessment). Before, we do not give them notice if the ECCs already lapsed,” DENR undersecretary, Ipat Luna added.
The DENR last month cancelled six ECCs including the housing project led by Century Communities Corp. located inside the La Mesa watershed; Ipilan Nickel Corp. and the Lebach Mining Corp. both located in Palawan; the Lupon Mining project of Core Mining Corp. in Davao Oriental; the Sacobia Sun Valley Resort of Donggwang Clark Corp. in Pampanga; and the nickel mining operations of the Austral-Asia Link Mining Corp. in Davao.
The DENR clarified that the proceedings for the ECC cancellations are separate from the final audit results of the country’s operating mines. The results of the latter is set to be released at the end of the month.
Last September, during the initial results of the mining audit, only 11 out of 41 operational metallic mining projects were not recommended for suspension.
Among the few firms who were able to garner positive results are Philex Mining Corp., Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp., Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp., Techiron Resources Inc., Cagdianao Mining Corp., Taganito Mining Corp.,Platinum Group Metals Corp., Greenstone Resources Corp., Philsaga Mining Corp., Pacific Nickel Philippines, Inc. and Apex Mining Company Inc.
The clampdown stoked worries about supply of nickel from the Philippines last year, helping spur a 14-percent rally in global prices.
The Philippines’ nickel ore shipments to top market China dropped 11.6 percent to 28.8 million tons in January-November.