DoF wants Philnico operations stopped
MANILA, Philippines—Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima is urging the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to stop Philnico Industrial Corp.’s mining operations, as the firm has not paid government interest worth hundreds of millions of dollars for a Surigao mineral reserve.
Purisima said Thursday he has sent a letter dated May 16 to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, urging the latter to intensify the DENR’s drive to preserve the country’s resources and look into PIC’s operations.
Purisima said there are reports that Hinatuan Mining Corp., a Philnico subcontractor, and other entities “have been continuously conducting mining operations and shipping nickel ore from” the Surigao mineral reservation.
The finance chief said PIC has paid only $1.25 million, or less than one percent of the $263.8 million owed to the state since 1996, for the purchase of the latter’s interest in Nonoc Mining Industrial Corp. (Nonoc), which holds mining rights in the area.
The purchase was made under the terms of an amended and restated definitive agreement (Arda) executed in 1996 by the PIC, Nonoc and the government through the Asset Privatization Trust—now called Privatization Management Office (PMO).
Purisima explained that the Arda was executed after the PIC defaulted on a previous agreement with government, which revoked the original mineral production sharing agreement.
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