MAC: Mines and Communities

Philippines: Locals Barricade Against OceanaGold Mine

Published by MAC on 2019-07-05
Source: Statement, Mining Weekly, Mining Journal (2019-07-05)

See previous article on MAC: Philippines: Opposition to OceanaGold's lease renewal

Note a petition against Oceanagold's FTAA renewal is available here: https://bit.ly/2MMAPTe 

Vizcayans Barricade Against OceanaGold Mine

by Kalikasan PNE

http://kalikasan.net/articles/vizcayans-barricade-against-oceanagold-mine/

1 July 2019

KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya - Residents and village officials have setup barricades today along the access roads leading to the Didipio large-scale gold and copper mine in Nueva Vizcaya province, backed by a restraining order earlier issued by the provincial government.

Owned by Australian-Canadian transnational corporation Oceanagold, the 12,864-hectare mining project has been defying the restraining order issued after its Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) recently expired, saying it has secured endorsements for FTAA renewal from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to the Office of the President.

"We want Oceanagold to stop operations regardless of whether its FTAA gets renewed or not. We Novo Vizcayanons have had enough of destructive mining in our lands," said village councilor Celia Bahag, an indigenous Ifugao woman who leads the environment and agriculture committee of Barangay Didipio, the host community of the mine.

Her sentiments were echoed by Julie Simongo, a fellow Ifugao and current chairwoman of the Didipio-based people's organization Samahang Pang Karapatan ng Katutubong Manggagawa at Magsasaka Inc. (SAPAKKMMI).

"Even if President Rodrigo Duterte decides to sign Oceanagold's FTAA renewal, they cannot stop the sovereign will of the people of Nueva Vizcaya to stop this mine from further destroying the environment and the rights of future generations," said Simongo.

National environmental activist alliance Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) hailed the action, saying Oceanagold has figured in various "environmental and humanitarian crimes" over the course of its mine development and commercial operations that warrant the stoppage of its operations and the cancellation of its FTAA.

"Various studies and investigations on Oceanagold's impacts have revealed how 80% of Didipio's residents now have problems accessing clean water and how rivers are polluted up to eight times above safety levels for riverine biodiversity. There are also various problems affecting forests, land use, chemicals management, and labor, indigenous, and other human rights," said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

"We cannot accept how government regulators have been willfully blind to these violations and demand that they close down Ocenagold's mine immediately," Dulce furthered.

The network said it would mobilize its provincial and national multi-sectoral member organizations to support the people's barricade until Duterte, who has been outspoken against mining throughout his presidency, cancels the FTAA of Oceanagold.

The final authority to decide upon the fate of Oceanagold's FTAA renewal application lies in Duterte's office.

"The Vizcaya people's barricade to restrain Oceanagold's operations is a morally and politically just action that is also a legitimate exercise of local government enforcement and citizen's arrest powers. Duterte must heed the people's cry for justice and swiftly cancel Oceanagold's FTAA with finality," Dulce ended.#

Sign the petition against Oceanagold's FTAA renewal: https://bit.ly/2MMAPTe 


OceanaGold halts trading as protestors circle

Esmarie Iannucci, Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

https://m.miningweekly.com/article/oceanagold-halts-trading-as-protestors-circle-2019-07-04/rep_id:3861

4th July 2019

PERTH (miningweekly.com) - Gold miner OceanaGold has halted share trading on the ASX in the midst of news of protestors at its Didipio operations, in the Philippines.

OceanaGold last week denied that production at Didipio had been halted and that the government of Nueva Vizcaya had ordered a stop to operations in the wake of its financial and technical assistance agreement (FTAA) expiring at the end of June.

The company has lodged an application to renew the FTAA with the Philippines government in March, and received confirmation that the company could continue with operations until the FTAA renewal.

However, reports on Thursday emerged that environmental group the Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (KPNE) had established barricades along the access roads leading to the mine."We want Oceanagold to stop operations regardless of whether its FTAA gets renewed or not. We Novo Vizcayanons have had enough of destructive mining in our lands," village councilor and leader of the environment and agriculture committee of host community Barangay Didipio, Celia Bahag was quoted by KPNE.

OceanaGold's trading halt is set to remain in place until July 8, or until the company made an announcement regarding the Didipio operations.


OceanaGold halted by Didipio revolt

OceanaGold called a trading halt this morning amid claims from the Philippines suggesting up to 100 locals have set-up barricades along access roads leading to the Didipio mine and have blocked truck access since July 1. However, the mine is understood to still be operating.

https://www.mining-journal.com/copper-news/news/1366654/oceanagold-halted-by-didipio-revolt

4 July 2019

Mining Journal sister title MiningNewsNet understands there are protestors and some temporary 'boom gates' along the roads, but they have not impeded operations at the underground mine. MNN was unable to verify claims that vehicles are unable to travel to and from the site.

It is not the first time environmental activist alliance, the Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, has made claims about stopping the mine.

KPNE accuses OceanaGold of "environmental and humanitarian crimes" during Didipio's development and commercial operations that warrant shutting down the mine and cancelling the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement with the national government that allows it to operate.

The group last week claimed the Nueva Vizcaya provincial government had issued a restraining order that forced the mine to cease operations, but at the time OceanaGold said no such order had been issued and that mining was continuing as normal.

Its initial 25-year FTAA expired earlier this year. Given it started the renewal process more than nine months ago the mine is operating under a temporary licence, and the nation's Department of Environment and Natural Resources has recommended the permits be renewed.

OceanaGold was recently awarded four Global CSR awards for Didipio at a ceremony in Malaysia, including for environmental excellence, but the KPNE claims 80% of Didipio's residents have problems accessing clean water, with nearby rivers polluted, local forests affected, and widespread chemicals management issues, with allegations of "labour, indigenous, and other human rights" abuses.

"We want OceanaGold to stop operations regardless of whether its FTAA gets renewed or not," local Barangay Didipio community councillor Celia Bahag said in a statement released by KPNE.

KPNE co-ordinator Leon Dulce said the government in Manilla was "wilfully blind" to the mine's violations, and denies OceanaGold's claims that the law allows it to operate until a final decision is made on the FTAA, saying the mine is now operating illegally.

"Even if president Rodrigo Duterte decides to sign OceanaGold's FTAA renewal, they cannot stop the sovereign will of the people of Nueva Vizcaya to stop this mine from further destroying the environment and the rights of future generations," local activist head Julie Simongo said.

The protestors hope Duterte, who has been outspoken against mining, will hear its calls and cancel the licence.

KPNE has also protested outside the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in recent days.

MNN understands the Canadian-Australian miner aims to make an announcement this evening.

The Didipio copper-gold mine started life as an open pit in 2013 and transitioned to underground in 2016.

The underground mine is still ramping up, and produced some 33,600 ounces gold and 3900 tonnes copper in the March quarter at all-in sustaining costs of A$638/oz.

It is targeting production of between 120,000-130,000oz gold and 14,000-15,000t copper this year at costs between $625-675/oz.

OceanaGold shares last traded at A$4.02, capitalising it at $2.5 billion.


OceanaGold files for injunction against local govt

By: Esmarie Iannucci, Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

https://www.miningweekly.com/article/oceanagold-halts-trading-as-protestors-circle-2019-07-04/rep_id:3650

4th July 2019

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner OceanaGold has filed for an injunction to ensure that operations at its Didipio mine site, in the Philippines, continue, after the Governor of Nueva Vizcaya directed local government units to ‘restrain any operations’ of OceanaGold.

Following the Governor’s orders, a local government unit prevented a large supply truck from accessing the mine site.
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OceanaGold on Thursday afternoon said that while operations at the mine are continuing, the company has halted truck movements, including that of copper concentrates, to prevent a potential escalation.

This halt has not prevented the supply of copper concentrate for shipment, or of light vehicles, people and food supplies accessing the site.
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Reports on Thursday emerged that protestors had gathered around the Didipio operations, prompting the miner to halt its share trading on the ASX.

OceanaGold last week denied that production at Didipio had been halted and that the government of Nueva Vizcaya had ordered a stop to operations in the wake of its financial and technical assistance agreement (FTAA) expiring at the end of June.

The company has lodged an application to renew the FTAA with the Philippines government in March, and received confirmation that the company could continue with operations until the FTAA renewal.

However, reports on Thursday emerged that environmental group the Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (KPNE) had established barricades along the access roads leading to the mine.

“We want Oceanagold to stop operations regardless of whether its FTAA gets renewed or not. We Novo Vizcayanons have had enough of destructive mining in our lands,” village councillor and leader of the environment and agriculture committee of host community Barangay Didipio, Celia Bahag was quoted by KPNE.

OceanaGold on Thursday evening said that it had attempted to engage wit the provincial government to resolve the current issues, but has been forced to file for an injunction to ensure that the local government units recognised the legitimacy of Didipio’s continued right to operate, and the national government’s legal authority over the operation.

The company added that it would continue to work in partnership with its regulatory authorities in accordance with the law, and would continue to comply with its responsibilities under its contract with the Republic of the Philippines.


OceanaGold denies Didipio mine halt

Ewen Hosie

https://www.australianmining.com.au/news/oceanagold-denies-didipio-mine-halt/

28 June 2019

OceanaGold has labelled recent reports that it has halted operations at its Didipio copper-gold mine in the Philippines as false.

Non-governmental organisation, Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, claimed operations had halted at the mine, adding that a local governor was seeking to suspend OceanaGold's operations in the country's Nueva Vizcaya region.

OceanaGold responded to the claims, stating the local regulatory authority - the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) - had sent the company confirmation the mine was permitted to continue operations pending a financial or technical assistance agreement (FTAA) renewal from the Philippine Government. OceanaGold lodged its FTAA application in March 2018.

"The company is committed to operating in accordance with the law and will always comply with its responsibilities under its contract with the Philippine government," OceanaGold stated.

Didipio, located on the island of Luzon, was acquired by OceanaGold through a merger in 2006 and commenced production in 2013. It employs roughly 1500 people, 95 per cent of whom are Filipino.

The mine has a measured and indicated resource of 1.3 million ounces of gold and 160,000 tonnes of copper, and a 2019 production guidance of 120,000-130,000 ounces of gold and 14,000-15,000 tonnes of copper.

"The Didipio mine has delivered significant socio-economic benefits to the Barangay of Didipio, neighbouring communities, the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino and the Philippines," OceanaGold continued.

OceanaGold has overcome conflict with the Philippines Government in the past, including a 2017 plan by former environment and natural resources secretary Regina Lopez to suspend several mining operations in the country.

Controversial president Rodrigo Duterte has also voiced his disapproval of the country's mining industry on various occasions.

 

 

 

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