OceanaGold suspends Philippines mine operationsPublished by MAC on 2019-07-28
Source: Mining.com, Philippine Star, statement (2019-07-26)
We recently published updates on local community attempts to shut down the Didipio mine, and cancel the contract of the company involved, OceanaGold, after said contract has lapsed. (See: Philippines: Locals Barricade Against OceanaGold Mine
At the time of writing the community barricade against the mine still stands, with many messages of solidarity from civil society.
The company's attempt to file an injunction against the barricade has failed in the provincial court (although the company is appealing that). In the meantime, ther company has stopped operations at the mine.
OceanaGold halts Philippines mine operations
26 July 2019
Australia’s OceanaGold Corp has halted mining at its Didipio gold and copper asset in the Philippines, as an ongoing dispute with a provincial government over its license to operate is negatively impacting the operation.
The mid-tier gold producer said that, while processing continues, underground extraction work has stopped due to the “depletion of consumable mining supplies.”
Earlier this month, the governor of Nueva Vizcaya province directed local government units to restrain OceanaGold’s operations. As part of the move, supplies have not been able to access the mine site.
The miner reacted by filing an injunction against any restraint to operations, but the provincial has court denied, it said.
The company will now appeal this decision to the Philippine Court of Appeals, in Manila.
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.
While the miner waits for the renewal of its operating license, the country’s industry regulator, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), confirmed earlier this month that Oceana had the right to keep Didipio open.
“Authority over the Didipio mine rests with the national government,” the company said in the statement. “The Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act No. 7160) does not grant the power or authority to the Provincial governor or any local government officer to restrain any aspect of the operation.”
Didipio, which began production in 2013, has a measured and indicated resource of 1.3 million ounces of gold and 160,000 tonnes of copper.
The mine, 270 km north of Manila, is expected to churn out this year between 120,000 and 130,000 ounces of gold and 14,000 to 15,000 tonnes of copper.
The Melbourne-based company also has assets in New Zealand and the United States.
Before the ongoing disruptions, it expected to produce 500,000 to 550,000 ounces of gold and between 14,000 to 15,000 tonnes of copper this year.
OceanaGold loses injunction case
Louise Maureen Simeon
The Philippine Star - https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/07/27/1938123/oceanagold-loses-injunction-case
27 July 2019
MANILA, Philippines — The Regional Trial Court of Nueva Vizcaya has denied the petition for injunction filed by Australian mining firm OceanaGold against the orders stopping its mine operations.
The court’s decision came on the eve of a national solidarity mission organized by environmental groups that sought to probe the threats and intimidation, lack of social acceptability, and other human rights violations involving the local unit of OceanaGold.
“The court’s rejection of OceanaGold’s attempt to impede citizen action against their illegal mining operation is a victory for the people,” Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment national coordinator Leon Dulce said.
“We now monitor the situation at ground level to ensure that the people’s barricade to enforce the restraint of OceanaGold is not subjected to any untoward reaction from the mine company,” he said.
The NSM will look into reported cases of intimidation and threats of harm and dispersal since OceanaGold initiated its petition for a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction.
It will also gather testimonies on the lack of public consultation and participation, especially free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous communities, as well as lack of other regulatory requirements, amid the railroading of OceanaGold’s FTAA renewal application.
“The court decision proves that it has been operating illegally without a contract agreement since June 20. We are considering filing charges if we gather sufficient evidence of its violations of the provincial government’s restraining order and the court’s affirmation of this order,” Dulce said.
OceanaGold continued its operations despite the expiration of its FTAA last June 20 amid the approval of the Mines and Sciences Bureau following the submission of its renewal application.
Ecumenical Church leaders support call for full closure of Oceanagold mining operations in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya
25 July 2019
Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. (Proverbs 14:31, NIV)
After 25 years of mining activity in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya the local communities—with the support of many throughout the province—are well situated to make a sober, thoughtful, firm and definitive assertion that they do not want Oceanagold to be given a renewal of their financial and technical assistance agreement (FTAA). We, Church leaders from the Cagayan Valley Regional Ecumenical Assembly (CAVREA) join them in their call for Oceanagold to stop operations and restore the area. We call on the Duterte administration to respect the voice of indigenous peoples and other inhabitants of Didipio and the entire province of Nueva Vizcaya. by denying the application for renewal of the FTAA and closing down the mining operations.
The damages to the mountains, watershed, rice fields, and communities of Nueva Vizcaya are apparent. The fear of the inhabitants are real and founded. Even if at the beginning of such operations there may have been some who believed this could be a road to local development, it is now glaring where the local communities stand: No Go for Oceanagold!
Likewise, the nature itself cries for mercy. The mountains gouged beyond recognition should be helped to heal. After 25 years under an FTAA that facilitated copper and gold worth billions being exported to foreign lands, it is time of Oceanagold to demonstrate their commitment to restoring the environment.
The scars to Didipio will surely last, but the lives of the people, the nature, and the ecosystem deserve respect. For generations yet born and for the nurturance of the entire environment, we affirm the right to self-determination of the indigenous peoples and other affected Filipinos. Their desire to protect their threatened farmlands and environment is upright, good and worthy of emulation.
As Church leaders, we stand together with the people and the environment long-affected by Oceanagold mining operations in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya! We say, enough! Respect the voice of the inhabitants of the land! Respect God’s Earth!
No Go for Oceanagold!
Rt. Rev. Jerry L. Sagun
Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI)
Rev. Ronnie Allan R. Manuel
United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)
Rev. Nafelyne T. Ganggangan
Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP)
Rev. Fr. Aldrin Acoba
Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI)
Rev. Noel Paul Erana
United Methodist Church (UMC)