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Listed mining firms buck order vs open-pit operations

At least seven publicly listed mining firms on Tuesday said a new order from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that bans future open-pit operations was against the Mining Act.

The companies were referring to DENR Administrative Order 2017-10 that Secretary Regina Lopez issued last April 27.

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The order covers “open-pit method of mining for copper, gold, silver and complex ores,” but not quarry material.

The Philippine Stock Exchange asked listed firms to explain how this would affect their businesses, and none have so far said there was any expected effect.

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However, seven firms said the order ran counter to the mining law.

Nickel Asia Corp., which operates four mines that use the open-pit method, said it believes the Administrative Order was “not in accordance with the law and is therefore legally questionable.”

Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. said the order was “issued beyond the authority of the DENR Secretary,” considering that the Mining Act “does not prohibit open-pit mining.”

MacroAsia Corp. also said the law allows open-pit mining.

Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc.—parent company of Platinum Group Metals Corp.—said “the order needs to undergo thorough review and consultation with stakeholders to overcome potential legal challenges.”

Manila Mining Corp. also said the Mining Act does not prohibit open-pit mining.

In a statement, DMCI affiliates Berong Nickel Corp. and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp. added that “the provisions of the Mining Act allowing open-pit mining should prevail.”

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TAGS: DENR Administrative Order 2017, mining
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