Ipilan Nickel seeks to resume Palawan mining operations
MANILA -Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC) is appealing for the “swift withdrawal” of the cease-and-desist order issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) which halted its mining operations in Palawan.
In a statement, parent firm Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. said INC expressed its “deep concern” over the recent turn of events amid its efforts to address issues such as royalty payments.
To recall, the NCIP regional office in Mimaropa issued the halt order to Celestial Nickel Mining Exploration Corp. (CNMEC) and INC for supposedly failing to secure a certification precondition (CP) and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).
The entities were given five days to “wind up operation” and “install safety protocols so as not to endanger the community.” NCIP said the order would remain in force until such time both make the necessary submissions.
The NCIP said the mining firms have to obtain the certifications and make a royalty payment since the mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) signed in 2000 “is already within the ambit” of the Philippine Mining Act and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).
But INC said it was exempted due to a preexisting MPSA. It cited NCIP’s separate letters to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and CNMEC that stated the CP was no longer necessary since CNMEC, the predecessor of INC, signed an accord in 1993 or four years before the enactment of the IPRA in 1997.
“The IPRA and its implementing rules state that existing contracts for the exploitation of natural resources within the ancestral domain continue until they expire,” INC said.