‘Politics’ forcing DMCI to stop nickel mine activities
The Consunji group may pull the plug on the nickel mining operations of DMCI Mining Corp. if regulatory kinks won’t be resolved soon.
DMCI Mining has interests in mining projects in Berong, Palawan under Berong Nickel Corp. and Zambales through Zambales Diversified Metals Corp. (ZDMC).
The two mining projects, which both use the open pit technique to extract nickel, chromite and iron laterite for direct shipping to China and Japan, have had problems with environment and mining regulators and host local government units.
The operations of both the Palawan and Zambales mines were recently suspended by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for allegedly breaching environmental standards.
The firm also said local governments were interfering too much in activities under the DENR’s jurisdiction.
“It has become too politicized,” DMCI Holdings president Isidro Consunji told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders meeting Wednesday. “The smoke has to clear. If it’s not cleared, then we’ll stop operations. We can’t afford a stop-and-go operation. I don’t think any mining company can afford that, so we have to clear that as soon as possible.”
Policy uncertainties have been costly not just for DMCI Mining but for other mining firms especially in an environment where commodity prices are on a downturn.
“I think a lot of the mining companies are barely surviving. And I think the prices of oil will be low in the next five years and that nickel, copper, gold, coal prices will (also) be low,” Consunji said.
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