February 7, 2017

Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. denies allegations of environmental violations

Records show allegations against Platinum Group Metals Corporation have no factual basis

Manila, Philippines/February 6, 2017. The operations of Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC) are not in violation of any laws, rules or regulations, and the allegations against the company have no factual basis. The company has likewise not received any official communication from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) over alleged environmental violations and its proposed closure. PGMC operations will continue as usual, pursuant to our Mineral Production Sharing Agreement.

PGMC Passed Mine Audit

PGMC passed the Mine Audit that was conducted by a multi-sectoral team in August 2016. The team, composed of representatives from the DENR, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, the Department of Health, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and the religious sector performed a comprehensive audit that entailed a review of reports and documents, an assessment of PGMC facilities and activities and the surrounding environment, and interviews with local government officials and community members.

The Mine Audit Report, released by Sec. Gina Lopez herself on October 21, 2016, recommended the continuation of PGMC operations and gave the company high ratings for environmental compliance and management and community development. The alleged “closure order” against PGMC due to the alleged “siltation of coastal waters and mining in a watershed,” is a surprising contradiction of the findings and the recommendations of the Mine Audit Report.

Allegations of Violations due to Coastal Water Siltation Untrue

The attribution of the coastal water siltation to PGMC’s operations has no basis. PGMC has in place a host of erosion and sediment control structures which the Mine Audit Team found to be adequate and appropriate.

As documented by the environmental baseline study, coastal siltation predates PGMC’s operations. The study was accepted by DENR as part of the original permitting process. According to the study, coastal siltation is attributable to forest denudation and burning in the upland by fuel wood gatherers. Erosion, gullying, and landslides followed, bringing sediment to the coast. The discoloration of the coastal waters of Brgys. Urbiztondo, Taganito and Hayanggabon of Surigao del Norte is due to the limonite eroded from the lateritic areas in the upland. The limonite is a mixture of hydrated iron oxide-hydroxides of varying composition, all of which are naturally occurring. The limonite does not contain any chemicals introduced by the nickel mines, and neither is it a material with heavy metals that is involved in the mining process.

Allegation of Operating in a Watershed in Violation of Existing Law is Unfounded

PGMC is not operating in a critical and functional watershed. PGMC has complied with all legal requirements as determined by Philippine law, in receiving both a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement and an Environmental Compliance Certificate duly issued by the Philippine Government through the DENR. These permits are not issued to any company that could possibly operate in a critical and functional watershed. It is also part of the Surigao Iron Ore Reservation declared by the Government expressly for mining. This means PGMC’s mining area is intended solely for mining operations.

PGMC’s Positive Contributions to Host Communities

PGMC operates in one of the most underdeveloped areas in the country. Before PGMC started operations ten years ago, host communities in Cagdianao, Claver, Surigao del Norte, local residents had little to no access to healthcare and education and had long relied on wood gathering, charcoal making, and illegal fishing as their primary sources of income.

“Through the years, our operations in Surigao del Norte have had a significant positive impact to the host communities. To date, our total economic contribution has reached P6.2 billion, through taxes, royalties and employment. This includes the royalties to government and indigenous people amounting to P2.5 billion and excise taxes of P874.1 million, plus the P719 million for environmental protection and PI 96 million invested for social development.,”Atty. Dante R. Bravo, President of Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc “We have provided direct and indirect employment to at least 4,000 people, with nearly 85% of the employees belonging to the local community. Counting the multiplier effect of these jobs, this impacts the lives of about 20,000 Filipinos. With the Mines and Geosciences Bureau’s regulatory oversight, we have reforested more than 652.8 hectares, rehabilitated 33.1 hectares of mined-out areas, constructed 45 settling ponds and 30 check dams and initiated various activities to protect water bodies. These are only some of the reasons why PGMC recently received three Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Awards (PMIEA),” he continued.

activities to protect water bodies. These are only some of the reasons why PGMC recently received three Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Awards (PMIEA),” he continued.
“We applaud and support the campaign for responsible mining. At the same time, the reason we are obligated to correct these false allegations is that we have a responsibility to protect the improved way of life of our communities, as well as the interests of our stakeholders. PGMC is hopeful that this response to the allegations will be helpful to the decision-making process of DENR and Sec. Lopez,” said Atty. Bravo.

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Contact:Luigi I. Avanceña


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