COMP urges dialogue with gov’t over ‘profitable’ Tampakan project
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) is not giving up on the $5.9-billion Tampakan copper-gold project amid a wide-ranging audit by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Earlier this month, the DENR announced that Tampakan proponent Sagittarius Mines Inc. was given a show-cause order on why its environmental clearance certificate (ECC) should not be suspended.
The ECC for Tampakan was issued in 2013, with the added requirement for the company to secure a permit from the local government before it could proceed to actual mining.
Supporters of the mining industry, including University of the Philippines economics professor Ramon Clarete, said if the Tampakan project had pushed through during the Aquino administration, the benefits of the investment would by now be very obvious in the host community and the surrounding areas in South Cotabato.
According to COMP, the Tampakan project is among several mines expected to start within the next five to 10 years. It is expected to bring in total investments of $23 billion or about P1 trillion.
“The government should address this through dialogue,” COMP executive vice president Nelia Halcon said in an interview.
“I’m sure that if this reaches the level of the President, everything will be sorted out fine,” Halcon told the Inquirer.
Also Monday, UP’s chief geologist Carlo Arcilla said the current regulatory regime—overseen by Environment Secretary Regina Lopez, a staunch anti-mining advocate—would help weed out irresponsible miners.
“There is no smoke without fire. We can’t say that there’s nothing wrong with the way mining is done [in some parts of the country] and these complaints must be addressed,” Arcilla said.
“Secretary Lopez has a good heart, but she has to be better informed [about mining],” he added.
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