Manila, Philippines/February 3, 2017. Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. (FNI) is seeking clarification from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) following news reports of Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC) being included in the list of companies recommended for closure. FNI immediately contacted the office of Sec. Gina Lopez and her staff sent an email containing the list of companies recommended for closure and suspension. PGMC’s name was not on the list but that of Platinum Development Corporation. Platinum Development Corporation is not a subsidiary of FNI and is not related to PGMC.
To date, we have not received an official letter from the DENR. Any closure of a mine,especially of those operating under valid mineral agreements and permits, entails at least a prior notice of alleged violation, a right to explain, a meaningful investigation and a written decision based on scientific study and empirical proof. These are basic legal requirements.
According to Atty. Dante R. Bravo, President of FNI, “the DENR has not issued any show-cause notice let alone adverse finding against PGMC to warrant the imposition of even the lightest of penalty such as reprimand. At no time has DENR accused PGMC of destroying the waters in the mine site (with naturally silted water sources owing to its rich laterite deposits) or operating in a watershed area.”
Instead, on September 28, 2016, the official website of the DENR announced that PGMC is among those who “passed” the mining audit and whom the audit team “did not find compelling reasons to suspend.”
Even more important, in November 2016, PGMC received the written audit findings of the “DENR Mine Audit Team 10 Report for Platinum Group Metals Corporation,” which contains a “final” report stating that the “company should continue to operate” because: “(a) The company is ISO 14001 certified; (b)The company is compliant with the policies, environmental laws, rules and regulations of the Philippine Mining Act and on the issued ECC particularly on the establishment of adequate environmental protection and enhancement measures including safety and housekeeping, and implementation of progressive rehabilitation of mined-out areas; and (c) Social acceptability of the mine operation is high with several social development projects in place which are all well implemented.” PGMC has not received any other written notice since then.
In addition, last December 2016, PGMC’s Cagdianao Nickel Expansion Project garnered the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA) Titanium Achievement Award for Surface Mining Operation for its exemplary efforts in achieving environmentally and socially responsible mining operations. The PMIEA was officially established under Executive Order No. 399 on the 3rd of February 1997 in compliance with the government’s policy to ensure that mineral exploration and mining operation shall be pro-environment and pro-people in sustaining wealth creation and improving quality of life.
“FNI is seeking clarification with the DENR, and we reserve all our rights to exhaust available remedies to protect our stakeholders.” adds Atty. Bravo.
Luigi I. Avanceña: 0998-544-7046