MAC: Mines and Communities

Philippines update

Published by MAC on 2007-01-25

Philippines update

25th January 2007

The fact-finding report "Mining in the Philippines: Concerns and Conflicts", based on conclusions of a mission led by MP and former UK Minister for Development, Clare Short, was launched in both Manila and London on 25th January. The launch took place in Manila despite one of the report's authors', Catholic priest Fr. Frank Nally, being 'black-listed' and deported from the Philippines.

Concern is mounting over the spread of mining in one of the major areas covered in the report, the Zamboanga peninsula. Around the same time as the report launch,UK-based Anglo American has re-iterated their commitment to exploration in the Philippines.

Report cites dangers of RP mining policies

By Katrice R. Jalbuena, Reporter, Manila Times

26th January 2007

A fact-finding team from the United Kingdom criticized the Philippine government on Thursday for looking the other way when mining firms fail to comply with national and international safety and environmental standards.

Alyanse Tigil Mina (ATM) bared the results of a fact-finding mission on the Philippine mining sector at the University of Santo Tomas Social Research Center. ATM was part of the mission, with the Missionary Society of St. Columban, Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy, Irish Center for Human Rights, Triocaire and the Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links.

The report, "Mining in the Philippines: Concerns and Conflicts", was written by a team from the United Kingdom, led by MP and former UK Minister for Development, Clare Short.

The report was launched simultaneously in the Philippines and the UK with the UK launch held at Westminister Hall, London. Minister Short addressed the assembled at the Manila launch via a previously taped video interview.


"I was deeply shocked by the negative impact of mining in the Philippines. During our visit we found scant evidence of mining benefiting the local people of the country's economy," said Short.

"I hope that the findings of this report and the recommendations will force the Philippine government to assess their stand on mining as well as encourage investors in the United Kingdom and worldwide to think before making a bad investment in an activity that is so exploitive of the Philippines and its people."

The team visited three mining sites in Mindanao and conducted a series of dialogues and interviews with representatives of the local government and civil society from four other mining sites-including the controversial Rapu-Rapu, Albay, site under the Australian company Lafayette.

The gold mining activities in Rapu-Rapu were shut down in 2005 after a tailings spill. It has been issued a provisional permit to restart operations.

"The claimed economic benefits of mining are too short-term," said ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera. "They cannot compensate for the social displacement, cultural conflicts and environmental degradation that might happen. Large-scale mining endanger what existing sustainable livelihood and cultural development is already present in the area."


The report found several other instances in which the Philippine government allegedly demonstrated a willingness to circumvent its own laws on protecting the environment and human rights.

The government, it added, has tried to loosen standards in a bid to encourage foreign investors.

The fact finding team responsible for the report spent the months of July and August 2006 visiting three local communities affected by mining in Mindanao-Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur; Mount Canatuan, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte; and Barangay Libay in Sibutad, Zamboangal del Norte.

According to tribal leaders in Midsalip and Mount Canatuan , applicants for mining permits routinely fail to get the indigenous people's informed consent, a violation of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and the Mining Act.

"Mount Canatuan is our ancestral domain and our sacred mountain," said Subanon tribal leader, Timuay Jose Boy Anoy. "We do not need the development promised by mining. We need peace. We need our land to continue our way of life."

In Mount Canatuan, Canadian mining company TVI reportedly evicted families despite their Certificates of Ancestral Domain. Local farmers and fishermen also reported damage to their livelihood and health that they traced to pollution wrought by mining activities.

Slow recovery

In the third site, the barangay of Libay in Sibutad, which was subject to large-scale mining from 1997 to 2002 by the Canadian company Philex Gold, the land and people have still not recovered.

Though Philex Gold still remains in control of the land, no restoration efforts have been put in place.

From 1997 to 2004, tailing dam overflows and mudslides destroyed rice fields, mangroves and corals, the report said.

Due to toxicity and siltage, fishing in no longer viable in the nearby Murcellagos Bay. While the team was in the area, a landslide blamed on deforestation destroyed 14 houses.

"As the only senator from Mindanao, and an author of the Local Government Code, I can attest to the veracity of the claims of tribal groups in Mindanao who are being oppressed by government policies relating to mining," said Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who was a guest speaker at the launch.

"The history of mining in the Philippines has shown that they have little positive results in the actual area where they operate," said Pimentel. "The resources of the nation must be utilized, but not at the expense of the local communities."

Account of the Launch, Jubilee Room, House of Commons, London

25th January 2007

Fact Finding Mission Report “Mining in the Philippines Concerns and Conflicts”

The Report which addresses issues of the Fact Finding Mission to the Philippines, was conducted in July/August 2006 by Clare Short MP, Clive Wicks member of the CEESP of IUCN, Fr Frank Nally Missionary Society of St. Columban and Chair of Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks), and Cathal Doyle of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway. The meeting to launch the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) report, “Mining in the Philippines Concerns and Conflicts”, took place in the Jubilee Room of the ancient buildings of the Houses of Parliament in London 25 January. The meeting was hosted and Chaired by Clare Short MP (a member of the Parliament and former Cabinet Minister for Overseas Development.)

She said in her opening remarks that, though she had visited many countries in the past that face severe development problems, she had never seen anything so disturbing in its capacity for systematic destruction as in the Philippines. She also reported on the climate of intimidation and palpable fear among those who bravely stood up for the defence of their communities. She expressed her admiration for the leaders of the Catholic church in the Philippines for standing so clearly and firmly in solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples and other poor affected communities.

She stressed that the situation was serious and said it cried out for action in solidarity from the International Catholic community and others. Ms. Short in particular drew attention to the very substantial role the City of London has in financing mining around he world, including the Philippines , and the existing involvement, in the Philippines, of a number of companies with a British base of operations. She pledged to continue working to inform those in the City of the serious impacts of mining in support of the calls of the people the team met in the Philippines. And to campaign for the British Government, European Union and the World Bank to recognise the seriousness of the situation and act in a responsible manner to respect and support the calls of the affected communities.

A brief film from the Philippines was shown showing some of the impacts of mining.

After which Clive Wicks, a member of the Fact Finding and also a member of the Commission on Environmental Economic and Social Policy of the World Conservation Union, presented the main findings of the report with the aid of a powerpoint presentation . (This is available on request and will be posted on websites including

Clive stressed his concern that the long term sustainability and the rich biological diversity of the Philippines were being compromised for, at best, short term gain driven in part by the problems of corruption. He said current mining plans would leave a legacy of impoverishment among many of what are already poor and marginalized Indigenous Peoples and poor farmers and fisherfolk. He illustrated the massive damage and destruction caused in the past by logging and the new and serious threat by widespread mining, particularly in critical watersheds.

He urged the Government to give priority to sustainable development strategies and the protection of the livelihoods of the poorest and protection too of the country’s invaluable and globally important biodiversity.

Mr Wicks urged the World Bank and the Philippine Government to revisit and implement the recommendations of the World Bank funded Extractive Industries Review (EIR)which in 2002 predicted problems relating to mining. He asserted that he and his commission were not against mining but were appalled by the current proposals for mining expansion in the Philippines. He said the FFM recommended the need for Strategic Environmental Appraisals on each of the major islands and regions considered for mining. He offered the help and cooperation of the team to the government if it sought to strengthen its capacity in this area as a requirement in the consideration of mining or other proposed developments that could affect environmental sustainability.

As an indication of the global nature of the problems caused by mining, Mr Wicks drew attention to a 2006 report from the USA that reported more than 70 % of US mines were failing to maintain defined levels for water quality and 96% of mines were defined as either causing or at risk of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) impacts. In the Philippines at least 16 serious tailings dams incidents resulted in major pollution that has affected the Philippines in the last 20 years. He reported the widespread view within the scientific community that marine and riverine tailings disposal were irresponsible and environmentally damaging.

Cathal Doyle highlighted the Human Rights impacts of mining especially for indigenous peoples. He particularly highlighted the teams findings that, despite seemingly good provisions in the law, a failure of implementation and process at the site level and, the prevalence of intimidation and allegations of bribery and corrupt dealings, projects were being granted permission to proceed where it was abundantly clear that no Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC required by law) had been granted.

Fr Frank Nally made the concluding remarks. He and others from their experience at parish level in the Philippines highlighted the pattern of inequality, fear and corruption that barred indigenous and other poor peoples from access to justice and participation in decision making and called for international pressure and support for a clean up. The Chair reported to the meeting that Fr Frank had been barred recently from entry to the Philippines and deplored this action. (A protest letter has been prepared and endorsed by a wide range of groups and individuals in the Philippines and around the world. It will now be submitted.)

Statements of solidarity and concern from Bishop Z Jimenez and Senator Nene Pimentel were read out and contextualised by Philippine citizens.

An open forum and questions followed. The participating audience included, Press representatives from the mining press, Filipinos based in the UK, Trade Union representation, Human Rights, Environmental and Corporate Social Responsibility and from the churches.

Questions raised the issue of British Involvement. Clare Short stressed the commitment of the group to follow through on the report and ensure that the city of London and potential investors were fully informed of what is actually taking place on the ground in the Philippines . She stated that the report had been distributed in the UK and Philippines and follow up work would now begin. She invited members of several British based NGOs who expressed their alarm and concern to join the existing alliance working on this follow up campaign.

A member of the newly formed London Mining Network which seeks to work in support of communities and peoples globally affected by the impacts of mining companies, alerted people to the global nature of the problem, and expressed their support and encouraged further participation in future activities .

Several people who asked questions wanted to know what responses there were from companies and committed themselves to gather responses. Clare Short reported that the priority has been to produce an accurate and serious report of what they saw and were told so that the voices of the affected peoples could be heard and considered. And that the next steps will be to encourage all companies and financiers to behave responsibly.

Clare Short ended the meeting with the commitment “This is not a one off. We will continue to follow up on the report.”

The various presentations from the meeting are available in electronic form.

The full Report can be downloaded at: the IUCN - CEESP (Commission on Environment, Economic and Social Policy) web page below on the launch in Manila and London.

Supporting statement from Bishop Zacarias C. Jimenez, DD

Chair Coordinating Team ECIP, Mindanao


24th January 2007

"Reading the Mining in the Philippines - Concerns and Conflicts, Fact Finding Mission to the Philippines Report, I deplore and lament with the prophets of old what is happening to our beloved land. Our own experiences here in Mindanao validate the report.

“ 'Remember, O Lord, what has come upon us; look, and behold our reproach! Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens, and our houses to foreigners. We have become orphans and waifs, our mothers are like widows. We pay for the water we drink, and our wood comes at a price. They pursue at our heels; we labour and have no rest. We have given our hand to the Egyptians and the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. Our fathers sinned and are no more, but we bear their iniquities.' (Lamentations 5:1-5)

" I chair the Episcopal Commission on Indigenous People – Mindanao and have been to many workshops with our indigenous people’s representatives all over Mindanao in the past three years. I heard their stories of anguish, saw them cry as they narrate their deplorable state, and I feel their anger against the game that our power-hungry national and local government officials are playing with them in alliance with greedy corporations. The situation is at its worst at the present moment.

" The very government that is supposed to protect their rights is the very one abusing them, manipulating them, turning many of their leaders into “Tribal Dealers”. The very people, save a few, we elected to supposedly ensure their basic need of food, shelter and clothing, created laws that instead further the interests of foreigners, investors, multi-national corporations and have turned these laws into a “machinery of death” for our indigenous peoples and their precious culture.

"What is worst is their deception. They are the modern Trojans bringing gifts of empty promises of progress and development. TIMEO DANAOS DONA FERENTES! I fear the Greeks bringing gifts … to our people.

"I also condemn all forms of harassment by government agencies against the people, foreigner and local, who are working in whatever way to help the situation of our indigenous peoples.

"I strongly endorse the Statement on Mining Issues and Concerns of our Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), President:

" To support, unify and strengthen the struggle of the local Churches and their constituency against all mining projects, and raise the anti-mining campaign at the national level;

"To support the call of various sectors, especially the Indigenous Peoples, to stop the 24 Priority Mining Projects of the government, and the closure of large-scale mining projects, for example, the Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project in Albay, HPP Project in Palawan, Didippio Gold-Copper Project in Nueva Vizcaya, Tampakan Copper-gold Project in South Cotabato, Canatuan Gold Project in Zamboanga del Norte, and the San Antonio Copper Project in Marinduque, among others;

"To support the conduct of studies on the evil effects of mining in dioceses;

"To support all economic activities that are life-enhancing and poverty-alleviating.

"God help our indigenous brothers and sisters …. Our precious land … all of us!

[Bishop Jimenez is the Auxiliary Bishop of Butuan and a former bishop of Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur. He was born November 5, 1948 in Inabanga, Island of Bohol . He was ordained Bishop in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy on January 6, 1995.]

Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Mindanao
Bishop's House
Butuan City

Environmental groups commend the Fact-finding report of Former UK Minister Clare

Short on Philippine mining

Kalikasan-PNE Press Release

25th January 2006

Defend Patrimony, an alliance opposing the mining liberalization policy of the Arroyo administration, in a statement commends the report made by UK parliamentarian Clare Short which said that "Mining in the Philippines is being developed at a speed and scale, and in a manner likely to cause massive long-term environmental damage and social problems."

A team of environmental and human rights experts led by Clare Short MP, the former UK secretary of State for Overseas Development, and Fr. Frank Nally, an Irish Columban missionary priest who was recently barred entry and blacklisted in the country last January 5, 2007, conducted a fact-finding mission in the Philippine in July and August 2006 to investigate the impact of mining on the environment and the livelihood of the local people.

In their report, the fact finding team stated that "In attempts to woo foreign direct investments, the Philippines government appears willing to circumvent its own laws protecting the environment and human rights, and reduce standards below acceptable international practice."

"It is not only here in the Philipppines but also internationally that the mining revitalization program of the Arroyo administration is being exposed as economically bankrupt, pro-foreigner, anti-environment, and begets more social ills," says Clemente Bautista Jr., national coordinator of environmental activist group Kalikasan-PNE.

"One of the negative social impacts of mining TNCs operations is the high incidence of human rights violations and community displacement in mining-affected areas. Particular cases include the forced dislocation of Subanon families, an indigenous people in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte to clear the way for the operation of Canadian-owned Toronto Venture Inc., and the killings of environmental activists in Mindoro Oriental which is related to the nickel mining project of Crew Minerals."

"Our records show that already 13 anti-mining activists and leaders have been killed under the Arroyo administration. Eight of them were killed in 2005 to 2006. In addition to these are the forced disappearance of Joey Estriber of Aurora Province and the attempted murder of Fr. Allan Caparro of Leyte Province, who at that time of the incidents, are both active in the campaign against foreign large-scale mining."

"The report made by Ms. Short and her team validates and affirms our claims that mining of transnational companies in the country only benefits the foreign business and corrupt government officials of the Arroyo administration at the expense of the rights and welfare of the people and the environment."

"Their report broadens and deepens our arguments against the government mining program and large-scale mining projects of transnational mining companies. Like the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and environmental groups, Ms. Short's team also calls for the revocation of Mining Act of 1995. Its imminent that the Mining Act which serves as the main policy framework of the government to implement irresponsible and unsustainable mining in the country," Mr. Bautista adds.

Reference: Clemente Bautista
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy, Central, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756
Fax No. +63-2-9209099

Fr Shay Cullen writes on the deportation of Fr Frank Nally

25th January 2007

Letter from Fr. Shay Cullen - reproduced in

MANILA - The deportation and blacklisting of Columban Father Frank Nally, 52, at the Manila Airport last January 5 was unnecessary. Father Frank is no threat to the Philippine people, or their national security or the government but is a threat to the forces of darkness and corruption that exploit and oppress the rights of the poor and indigenous people.

He is a friend and supporter of Filipinos and a defender of their rights and dignity. He is an advocate for justice and peace calling for an end to assassinations and evil. The only people to gain from preventing him from entering the Philippines where he served as a dedicated missionary for eight years are those who sleep with the devil. Consider how paedophiles and child rapists are protected by powerful officials and even when ordered to be deported by the Commissioner on Immigration they still can stay to abuse children.

The immigration officials were only acting on orders from powerful people at the top. Those that prosper by allowing the international and local mining corporations to pollute and pillage the land of the indigenous people. It only takes a few greedy people to cause so much injustice and poverty. Bringing these realities to public light and advocating positive alternatives to save the people and their environment is part of the mission of Father Frank Nally we must all support these life giving efforts.

Fr Frank was here to prepare for the launch of an important report on these problems and to promote what is good and right. Good and ethical mining practices are those that respect the rights of the indigenous people to their ancestral lands and a participation in responsible mining that will benefit the majority of poor people and protect the environment. The people, not the politicians ought to get a fair share of the wealth generated. But when the people are robbed, driven off the land and exploited by large scale mining operations backed up by police and military then this has to be exposed, criticized and stopped and good practices planned and implemented with the people's participation.

The special report is being launched today at University of St Tomas (UST) in Manila and in the Jubilee Room at the House of Commons in London the same day. The research contained in the report was done at the request and with the support of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Thousands have died in recent years from the environmental destruction caused by mining disasters, logging and toxic pollution. The forest degradation reduces to poverty a once self-reliant and proud people. Rare animal species are also one step from extinction as a result and more carbon dioxide is pouring into the atmosphere.

The massive money from mining propels the politician's re-election and the cycle repeats itself. Some say there is no hope and the good Filipinos are condemned by the curse of this corrupt political self-perpetuating system. That is not necessarily true. Even corrupt and sinful systems can be redeemed. When enough people are empowered and committed to non-violent people power, imbued with moral authority and a spiritual commitment to truth and justice, then they can overcome evil regimes even if they kill torture and maim. Blood baths, massacres, wars, invasions and insurrections are not the way to a just society.

Even though the Philippine constitution explicitly forbids outright foreign ownership of land and property a 1995 law granted foreign and local mining companies ownership of the land and the mineral wealth beneath it. This was passed by a congress made up of the ruling elite to benefit themselves and the multinational mining corporations. After public outrage and a massive people power campaign, the supreme court ruled that the law was unconstitutional. But then in 2005 inexplicably the Supreme Court reversed itself and said the 1995 law was constitutional after all. In 2006 at a private mining investors meeting in London between Philippine political leaders and business tycoons, the politicians boasted how they had pressured the Supreme Court to reverse its own ruling. ´We did it, they triumphantly said, we did it¡. The discussion at that private meeting was recorded and later leaked on the internet. The upcoming report will help reveal the truth and give positive recommendations that politicians would be wise to adopt.

For more information see:



20th January 2007

Entering into law in 1997, the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) sought to give equity to the most marginal sector of the country, the original Filipinos, those who had, in their own way, successfully resisted centuries of colonial interlopers. The minerals of the Cordilleras would have been tapped by the Spaniards had not they been driven off by the tribes.

The IPRA's passage was hailed for the most part, as it allowed IP communities to finally legally claim the land which they had occupied and worked since, in the IPRA's terms, "time immemorial." This was well and good until it came to the attention of concerned parties that a great many of these ancestral lands were adjacent or on top of the richest mineral deposits, bringing them into territorial and land use conflict with the mining firms.

This led to what is known as the attempt to harmonize the IPRA to the Mining Act in an effort to remove the barriers the IPRA presented to mining. This echoed in an attempted harmonization of the National Integrated Protected Areas System and the LGU Code to also "grease the wheels" for the entry of mining.

In the case of the IPRA, it was the concept of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) that was hamstrung. As the government recognized that the IPs may very well wish to allow firms access to their lands and resources-such as timber-the FPIC demands community level decision-making and community-given permission to industry.

While it remains in place today, its effective implementation is in question. The trends of the Mining Act are for the government to willfully weaken its own regulatory functions and encourages self-regulatory mining. This benefits no one but the miners. In the case of the IPRA and the cases made for its "harmonization" it all but screams a removal of the rights of IPs to self-determination.

An interesting side effect of this is, again, the timing. The attacks on the IPRA came before it passed into law and continued after, spearheaded by the mining industry. This was in 1997, two years after the passage of the Mining Act and not long at all after the Marinduque disaster.

In a way it helped to organize the IP groups against mining as the National Council of Indigenous Peoples were the first to leap to the IPRA's defense. And organization is indeed needed and necessary.

The case of Canatuan is an infamous one which displays the outer limits of the FPIC. As one can imagine, our remarkably inept bureaucracy and the concerns of marginalized peoples do not mix well. Canatuan and the mining firm with interests in the area-Toronto Ventures, Inc. (TVI) -have helped to explode the area's native Subanen population. The community is split in two; obviously one side is pro-mining, the other is antimining. The antimining side claims that nonnative Subanen managed to pass off their FPIC as one for Canatuan. The government acted with all speed on this, but with less speed on the complaint. The pro-mining side has since claimed victory, with TVI operations in full swing. Evictions and militarization of the area are known facts.

IP groups are wary that this will soon be the way of doing business across the country-with marginal groups cruelly robbed of promises of their rights to land, life and self-determination by the combination of industry, wealth and greed.

Lumads voice alarm on mining firm entry

By Lino Dela Cruz, Iligan Correspondent Sun Star

20th January 2007

PAGADIAN CITY -- The Subanen tribe here expressed alarm over the coming start of mining operations in the towns of Roseller T. Lim and Titay in Zamboanga del Sur by the Benguet-Oreline Mining Company.

In a recent consultation here by at least 81 traditional Subanen leaders and 300 Subanen inhabitants of the two towns, Fernando Mudai, head of the tribal leaders, said the mining operations target in the two towns is situated in the 50,000 hectares of ancestral domain claim by the tribe.

The Benguet-Oreline Mining Company has applied for at least 4,278 hectares inside the ancestral domain of the Subanens.

There is already an existing mining operation of another Canadian-owned company, the Toronto Ventures (TVI) mining company, which had applied for 37,000 hectares that is also within the Subanen ancestral claim, according to Mudai.

Mudai cited the provisions of the requirements of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) in the Free Prior and Inform Consent (FPIC), which mandates the applicants for mining operations to consult the inhabitants. Mudai further claimed that the TVI operation is in violation of the Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous People's Rights Act.

"We want the government to develop our ancestral land for agriculture, provide agriculture facilities for our decent livelihood because gold mining for us is a curse and we will fight against the destruction of the environment because it is where our lives depend," Mudai said.

Mudai explained that the mining operations of the two companies will affect at least seven major rivers in the Zamboanga Peninsula namely Siocon river, Panganuran river, Kipit river, Patawagan river, Tupilac river, Patalon river, Malayal and Lintungan rivers.

Manila Mining says in copper JV with Anglo American

Creamer's Mining Weekly

24th January 2007

Manila Mining Corp. said on Tuesday it was in joint venture talks with a unit of South Africa's Anglo American Plc. to explore its Bayugo copper-gold prospect in southern Philippines.

"We confirm that the proposed joint venture project between Manila Mining Corporation and Anglo-American covers about 285 hectares," Odette Javier, assistant corporate secretary of Manila Mining, said in a disclosure to the local stock exchange.

Javier said the proposed exploration budget for the pre-feasibility phase was at least $20 million.

Bayugo is adjacent to the Boyongan copper deposit, located in Surigal del Norte province, that is being planned to be developed by Anglo American and local partner Philex Mining Corp.

The government's Mines and Geosciences Bureau previously said the Boyongan lode has an estimated ore reserve of 300-million tons, with 0,6% copper and 1 g/t of gold.

In October 2005, Anglo American said it was looking to explore next to its Boyongan copper deposit because developing a larger mine was more cost effective.

"A joint venture between Anglo American and Manila Mining in Bayugo will ensure the operation of both mining areas," an official at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau told Reuters.

The Boyongan project is one of 24 priority mining ventures identified by the Philippine government and is estimated to cost a total of $6,5-billion to bring into commercial production.

The government has said the Philippines is sitting on top of $1-trillion worth of unexplored mining reserves and that it is trying to attract foreign investors to help develop the mining industry.

Anglo American seeks Philippine mining permits

Creamer Media's Engineering News

27th January 2007

Anglo American Plc, the world's third biggest mining group, has joined the rush to discover new Philippine mines by seeking permits to explore in a dozen areas in the country, a source close to the firm said on Friday.

Anglo, which has a joint venture with local firm Philex Mining Corp. in the Boyongan copper project in the southern Philippines, is also in joint venture talks with Manila Mining Corp. to explore an adjacent property called Bayugo. The company is also set to start exploration of its Manmanok copper-gold project in the northern Philippines next month, the source, who asked not to be identified, said.

"Anglo has 12 pending applications for exploration permits, 5 in the Cordillera region and 7 in Surigao and Agusan areas in Mindanao," the source told Reuters. The Cordillera region is in the northern Philippines, while Mindanao is in the mineral-rich south.

Anglo American has an existing two-year permit to explore the 7 802-ha Manmanok copper-gold area in Cordillera and plans to spend 5-million pesos, the source said. He said the permit was approved on October 16 last year.

On Thursday, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Angelo Reyes said Anglo American was one of five large firms joining the rush to dig up the country's unexplored mineral wealth.

Reyes identified the four others as BHP Billiton Ltd./Plc., Xstrata Plc., Canada's Chemical Vapour Metal Refining Inc. (CVMR) and Phelps Dodge Corp.

The Philippine government has said the country has $1-trillion worth of unexplored gold, copper, nickel and zinc.

It launched a campaign in 2005 to lure foreign investors by identifying 24 priority projects that needed total investments of at least $6,5-billion to re-open old mines and bring into production new ones.

One of the 24 priority projects is the Boyongan copper lode of Anglo American and its local partner Philex.

Silangan Mindanao Mining Co., Inc., which is 60%-40% owned by Philex and Anglo, hopes to finish drilling in Boyongan in the first half of the year to confirm the mineral resources in the area, which was initially estimated to contain 219-million tonnes of ore, the source said.

After this, the company needed to do a feasibility study on Boyongan for two years, he said.

"Anglo has spent $45-million in Boyongan for exploration and drilling since 1999," the source said.

In October 2005, Anglo said it was looking to explore next to its Boyongan copper deposit in Surigao del Norte province because developing a larger mine was more cost effective.

Reyes said on Thursday he had approved the exploration permit for the Bayugo-copper gold prospect, which is adjacent to Boyongan.

He said he approved the permit after being informed that the owner of project, Manila Mining, was in joint venture talks with Anglo.

The source close to Anglo said the company was likely to sign the joint venture agreement with Manila Mining by next week.

"With the bright opportunity of exploring the Bayugo copper-gold deposit, Anglo American would probably attain its target of 500 million tonnes of metal resource," the source said.

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