MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Philippines Update

Published by MAC on 2007-07-21


Philippines Update

21st July 2007

So far nothing more has been heard after last week's press reports that Lafayette is to sue some of its Filipino critics for libel. However, TVI Pacific seems to be centre stage this week, as various people respond to a letter from TVI to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. In the letter, TVIRD's Director of Public Affairs makes various claims which have been repudiated by local, national and international partners. Reports that TVI's new sulphide dam has once again suffered a breach under heavy rains have made the press, and amid denials from the company the government has promised to investigate.

The government has also announced that former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza has been named environment secretary, replacing Angelo Reyes who is taking over the top energy post left vacant by the resignation of Raphael Lotilla. Aside from the problems mentioned above, the new secretary will have to deal with a reconfirmation of the mining ban in Marinduque, and complaints that recent changes to the mining law are too confusing. No doubt he will be in for a challenging time...


Letter to Inquirer - Responding to TVI’s ‘side’ on Canatuan mining row

18th July 2007

Dear Sir/Madam,

We note the letter of TVI’s Director of Public Affairs, Rocky Dimaculangan (TVI explains side on Canatuan mining row, Inquirer, 7/5/07), in response to Daxim Lucas’s article on the supposed revitalisation of the mining industry (“Mining is poised for takeoff, but old woes persist,” Inquirer, 6/11/07).

As noted by Mr. Dimaculangan, the original article was not only objective, but also correct in the portrait it painted. Therefore in response to the allegations he laid out we would like to offer the following rebuttals to his letter.

1. Mr. Dimaculangan claims that Timuay (tribal chief) Jose Anoy has been repudiated by his own community and was voted out of leadership of the Siocon Subanon Association Inc. (SSAI), which is recognized by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples as the legal representative of the Canatuan Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) holders.

In reality the SSAI has no standing or authority in relation to the Ancestral Domain claim and title other than that improperly given to it by TVI. The official claimants to the CADT are not defined by membership of SSAI, nor are they required to be. SSAI has no standing or authority in Subanon culture, and therefore has no legitimate role. The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) law requires that the recognised decision-makers within a CADT are leaders chosen according to traditional custom and practice. Timuay Anoy is indeed the recognised leader according to such a definition, and has been confirmed as such by the Subanon’s regional traditional judicial body, the Gukom. TVI itself has recently acknowledged the authority and standing of the Gukom, when it proposed to submit to ‘tribal justice’ after a recent incident where TVI security guards are alleged to have assaulted the daughter of Timuay Anoy within the ancestral domain.

The claim that Timuay Anoy is not a legitimate leader is based on divisions to which TVI has regrettably contributed. SSAI was formed in the early 1990s as a SEC registered vehicle to assist the people of Canatuan in securing their land rights. It was founded and led by Timuay Anoy. However in 2001 an improperly constituted meeting, which was initiated by Subanon supportive of the company - including employees of TVI and some who had no legitimate land rights on Mt Canatuan – led to a group usurping power within SSAI. The history of this shabby act has been well documented and continues to be disputed. TVI unwisely chose to recognise and support the usurpers, thereby intensifying community division and conflict. Yet despite company backing SSAI has failed to gain general credibility, and divisions have intensified. Such internal conflict is frequently produced by mining companies entering a community.

2. Mr. Dimaculangan claims that Mount Canatuan is not sacred, and that elements are using the mountain’s “sacredness” as a rallying cry in international discourse.

Such a position is deeply offensive. If TVI wish to learn respect for the people whose land they occupy they had best start by not seeking to “educate” the Subanon as to their own beliefs and sacred sites. What basis does a Canadian company have to argue it knows better than the Subanon themselves whether an area is sacred or not? Respected regional Subanon organisations, such as the Gukom and Pigsalabukan Bangsa Subanon, confirm the sacredness of the mountain in documenting local custom and practice. Indeed, interviews have attested that the small-scale miners and Zamboanga Wood, who previously logged in the area, both recognised that the mountain was sacred in their dealings with the traditional leadership. It is only TVI, who have now removed the whole mountain-top, who have sought to deny it.

3. Mr. Dimaculangan claims that TVI has IP consent in Canatuan (notably a memorandum of agreement with the SSAI).

This “agreement” is the basis of regular payments to the officers and lawyer of SSAI and the members of a Council of Elders, which was invented in 2002. It is perhaps unsurprising therefore that they have endorsed the company. The continuing dispute is whether the individuals who choose to collaborate with TVI have any legitimate authority. It is this that is strongly disputed and rejected both by the original Subanon inhabitants of the region and by their neighbouring communities who know that the structures established to legitimize TVI’s occupation, themselves lack legitimacy.

4. Mr. Dimaculangan claims that “Anoy is not a Timuay”.

Aside from the points already made in support of Timuay Jose Anoy, it is noteworthy that the provincial NCIP office has recently validated Timuay Anoy as a leader. It agrees that he is the correct person to head the body to engage in the FPIC process that TVI now requires for the expansion of their activities within the CADT. As part of this process, TVI staff attended a locally organised meeting in front of the community as recently as 17th June 2007. This would seem to suggest that TVI is now recognising Timuay Anoy, so perhaps Mr. Dimaculangan is out of step with his colleagues in continuing with this disrespect, or would he care to offer a clarification?

Unsurprisingly the request for new FPIC was rejected. In fact, according to reports of the meeting, a qualified apology of sorts for some of the grave violations of rights was given by TVI’s new Vice President for Social Commitments. While this was welcomed it seems many of those present felt it went in no way far enough. Perhaps more importantly during that open meeting one of TVI’s supporters, who was appointed by NCIP as a member of the so-called Council of Elders, admitted she had no standing as a traditional leader and paid a penalty for falsely claiming to be so.

In conclusion as Mr Dimaculangan notes in his letter, TVI has indeed continued to make these sort of points over the last several years. Indeed it has been these assertions that have been the basis of their being allowed to proceed to mine gold on Mount Canatuan and have resulted in millions of dollars of profits for their company, but also resulted in the militarization of the area, as well as violence and the forced removal of local residents. Fortunately repetition of such self serving claims by hired spokespersons does not make these claims any more true or credible.

Mr. Geoff Nettleton sgd. (Coordinator, Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links)
Mr. Jaybee Garganera sgd. (National Coordinator, PhilDHRRA/ATM)
Ms. Jo Villanueva sgd. (Executive Director, LRC – KsK/FOE – Philippines)
Ms Anabelle Plantilla sgd. (Executive Director, Haribon Foundation)

For details, please contact:

Jaybee Garganera (0915-3153719), nc@phildhrra.org
Roy Calfoforo (0920-2970492), roycalf@gmail.com
John Vincent S. Cruz (0928-5028701, vince0925@yahoo.com

Tel # 02-4260385 or 02-4266740

Address: # 59 C. Salvador St., Loyola Heights, Quezon City (www.alyansatigilmina.org)


Letter from Timuay Jose Boy Anoy, reply to July 7 Inquirer letter of TVI Rocky Dimaculangan

17th July 2007

I have just recently read the letter of TVI Resources Development Philippines Inc Director for Public Affairs, Mr. Rocky Dimaculangan reacting to the reported human rights violations committed by TVI wherein he defended his employer by attacking me, my tribe and our sacred mountain. ("TVI explains side on Canatuan mining row" 7/5/07)

Mr. Dimaculangan's letter betrays the mindset of the mining industry by which our rights as indigenous peoples are being violated.

TVI has been in our ancestral domain for only 13 years and yet its employees like Mr. Dimaculangan had readily abrogated unto themselves the authority to identify who our tribal leaders are and to declassifly our hallowed grounds. In those 13 years, TVI security forces declared themselves as sole authority for the entry of Subanons into Mt. Canatuan, demanding of me a permit or gate pass for me to enter my own area, and accosting and hurting my daughter for traversing in "TVI roads".

I understand Mr. Dimaculangan's gall in claiming that Mt. Canatuan is not sacred, one cannot hold sacred something if his pay depends on it being ravaged and razed to the ground. The same holds true for Mr. Dimaculangan's so called tribal leaders who he claims gave their consent, in exchange for royalties and employment.

Perhaps Mr. Dimaculangan has not been informed but his superiors TVIRD VP for Operations Yulo Perez and VP for Social Commitment Feliz Yeban, had been referring to me as Timuay (Tribal Chief), especially now that TVI has applied for expansion of its operations inside our ancestral domain. Being the recognized traditional tribal leadership structure by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the TVI needs our tribal council's Free, Prior and Informed Consent for its planned expansion.

Last June 17, TVI VP Feliz Yeban came to woo our council at the tribal hall of the Apu Manglang Gluba Pusaka where I hold court as direct blood descendant of Apu Manglang. In asking for our consent for TVI expansion, she asked forgiveness for the human rights violations that TVI committed in the past and promised it won't happen again.

Mr. Dimaculangan, please be guided accordingly.

Timuay Jose Boy Anoy
Tribal Chieftain
Apu Manglang Glupa Pusaka
Brgy Candiz, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte


Response from Timuay Fernando Mudai to TVI Inquirer letter

11th July 2007

I would like to react and say something about the explanation of Mr. Rocky Dimaculangan Director, Public Affairs, TVI Resources Development Philippines Inc. dated July 05, 2005 . Mr. Dimaculangan stated the following;

1.) Timuay Jose Anoy is not a Victim of Human Rights Violation nor affected of the said allegations, and the People of Canatuan is not evicted on their Ancestral Domain Area.

*I want to tell you a short story, before the occupancy of TVI in the area the house of Timuay Boy Anoy was erected or located within Canatuan, but upon the arrival and entry of TVI he was cast out from his area in the sense that every time he will enter to his home place the SCAA of TVI would request him to ask permit or gate pass for him to enter his own area and until this point of time this practice has continuously done by TVI, As a result of these, there were many affidavits executed in the Human rights Violations committed by TVI.

2.) According to him Timuay Jose Anoy’s leadership is rejected because of their reported alignment.

*Base on the Subanon Traditional Practices record shows that Timuay Boy Anoy has never been accused for both mismanagement, corruption, criminal case and other related cases before the Subanon Tribal Court and even in the Regular Court .

3.) Another Allegation of Mr. Dimaculangan, Mount Canatuan is not sacred as What the group of Timuay Boy Anoy claimed?

* I want to personally ask Mr. Dimaculangan, who is he to tell that to the Subanon People of Canatuan? Much more to declare it to the whole world that Mount Canatuan is not our sacred ground. When we ask the opinion of the Apo Manglang’s descendant Mount Canatuan is very much sacred because this is the only place where the MORTAL and IMMORTAL made a PEACE PACT, therefore Mr. Dimaculangan has no right to say that mount Canatuan is not a sacred mountain, IT IS WE the descendant of Apo Manglang who is in the position to declare it, not him.

4.) He identified, that he got a strong support from Subanon People approving the operation of TVI.

* In the first place, their identified Subanon People who supported the operation of TVI is the very person that TVI HIRED and PAID from the neighboring place of Canatuan.

5.) He added that TVI operation has IPs consent.

* He is referring to the Memorandum of Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding made between them and the SSAI. I would like to comment on this matter, SSAI is not the right organization to represent in behalf of this Ancestral Domain, because I personally know that the group of Timuay Boy Anoy rejected and questioned the authenticity of SSAI, resulting to the creation of Tribal group which is APO MANGLANG G’LUP PUSAKA which is fitted to the Traditional Practices of Subanon People dealing and governing the Ancestral Domain. The group of Timuay Boy Anoy is the Recognized Tribal Leader of the area, where in fact there was already a letter submitted to MGB and NCIP Regional Office to stop acknowledging and recognizing the said group (ISAI) from the leadership of Ting Tumangkis down to Barangay Chairman Boy Pato of Tabayo.

Part of his statement, Timuoy Boy Anoy is not a Timuay or a Tribal Chieftain, who is he to announced it? Is he a Subanon who knows the Subanon Culture well? Or his origin came from Canatuan? Who is well verse on the history of Subanon Tribe on the area? He did not know what he’s talking about, he did not know the lineage, bloodline and genealogy of Timuay Boy Anoy. I can testify that Timuay Boy Anoy is the legitimate and pureblooded Traditional Leader because he is a descendant of Timuay Apo Manglang. Timuay could not be change by election nor by way of recalling his appointment because Timuay is not govern by election nor appointment but Timuay govern by Anointment, so Mr. Dimaculangan was not in the position to speak out who is Timuay Boy Anoy and the Subanon Leaders of Siocon, he was just PAID and HIRED by TVI to destruct our sacred mountain.(Mount Canatuan).

The statement of Mr. Dimaculangan that he got a strong support from Subanon people was purely a figment of their imagination because the original Subanon people of Canatuan never signed any papers in favor of TVI operation, the strong Subanon supporter that he is referring to, is the hired Subanon outside Canatuan headed by Atty. Bernardo.

The undersigned being a Project Management Coordinator of Pigsalabukan Bansa Subanon is also a descendant of Apo Manglang so I can attest you that Timuay Boy Anoy is the legitimate Timuay of Canatuan, and I also knew the real Timuay of Siocon and this observation was been clarified thru the validation of Traditional Leaders of Canatuan conducted last December 2, 2006 by the Provincial Officer of NCIP Dipolog City.

Timuay Fernando Mudai
PBS Program Management Coordinator


TVI explains side on Canatuan mining row

Inquirer, http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/letterstotheeditor/view_article.php?article_id=74863

5th July 2007

We laud Daxim Lucas for his objectivity on the issue of revitalizing mining. (“Mining is poised for takeoff, but old woes persist,” Inquirer, 6/11/07) Among the “woes” mentioned in his report were the human rights violations allegedly committed against indigenous peoples, Jose Anoy among them. Please allow us to present our side.

1. Anoy and other members of his tribe were never evicted from their ancestral domain. They were repudiated by their community and voted out of leadership of the Siocon Subanon Association Inc. (SSAI), which is recognized by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples as the legal representative of the Canatuan Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) holders. Their leadership was rejected in part because of their reported alignment with what was believed by the community to be the evils of small-scale mining, which was operating illegally in Canatuan from the early 1990s until the early 2000s.

2. Mount Canatuan is not sacred. The only identifiable Subanons who seriously consider it sacred are members of anti-mining organizations who indirectly benefited from the above-cited small-scale mining in that mountain but who, after their leadership was rejected by the majority of their community, began using the mountain’s “sacredness” as a rallying cry in international discourse.

3. TVI’s presence in Canatuan has IP consent. As a gesture of good faith, TVI entered into a memorandum of understanding and, subsequently, a memorandum of agreement, with the SSAI for the development of Canatuan despite the fact that TVI secured its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement with the Philippine government prior to the issuance of the CADT to the Subanons.

4. Anoy is not a Timuay (tribal chief). Anoy’s lineage and status as a Timuay were challenged by many in the community because he did not come from the local community and because of other reasons.

Over the last several years, TVI has refuted these and many other allegations against the company in considerable detail, and those materials are available on the TVI website (www.tviphilippines.com).

Visitors to the website can also see the expanding list of the company’s successful efforts to help the Canatuan Subanons enjoy more of their human rights—including rights to development, health, education, employment, food, water and security, as well as sustainable development—in a better way.

TVI’s Canatuan Project enjoys the strong support of the Subanons who have joined in the common effort to judiciously use resources as a means of attaining economic and social progress. We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish in Canatuan. We are inviting Lucas to our project site so that he will be able to see for himself and to talk to the real people who have benefited from these accomplishments.

ROCKY DIMACULANGAN,
director, public affairs,
TVI Resources Development Philippines Inc.,
22/F Equitable PCI Bank Tower, 8751 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City Philippines


Mine Dam Collapse Threatens to Pollute Mindanao's Rivers

TVI's Sulphide Dam Collapse an Ecological Time Bomb

Balita Pinoy - http://www.balitapinoy.net/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=204&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=8675&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=1696&hn=balitapinoy&he=.net

18th July 2007

Zamboanga - Mt. Canatuan is again at the center of the news after the Sulphide dam collapsed for the second time this year.

Call it the wrath of nature. Early in the morning of July 11, 2007, with a heavy rainfall and gusting wind, the Sulphide Dam of TVI suddenly collapsed. It was the second time within this year that the dam collapsed. The first was last April 2, 2007

3 eyewitnesses who have been interviewed had seen the whole incident. According to them there are 12 households who are living just 60 meters below the dam.

So far there are no human fatalities but there is a potential danger to the residents who live and get their livelihood from the river and the environment. The contaminated water directly flows to the Canatuan river down to the Siocon river and eventually to the sea.

As of press time there has only one been person directly affected by the collapse of the dam who is a traditional miner. Two days after the collapse, siltation in the river has reached up to 3 meters thick.

Cyanide and mercury is detectable, according to the 3 eye witnesses they can smell a foul odor coming from the flood water which they pressume is caused by harmful chemicals present in the water, though we cannot confirm or validate this for we still waiting to get water samples tested.

The TVI mining company had been forceful in their comments that the dam that they built could withstand any weather condition and that it was perfectly safe. This is in line with their advertisement that they practice responsible mining.

The dam was initially constructed late last year despite the opposition of the Subanen community since it is not part of the 508.3396 hectare covered by the still illicit MPSA of TVI.

Last June 17, 2007, TVI together with the National Commission on Indigenous People regional officers conducted the Free, Prior and Informed Consent process with the Subanen community to get the consent of the Iidigenous People's for the proposed expansion of the company that will cover 4,500 hectares. The Sulphide dam is not covered by the TVI’s “MPSA”. It is part of the proposed area for expansion and is still in the process for application.

At press time, no human casualties were reported. Though the residents near the dam are in grave danger, they do not wish to leave their houses and properties because for them that place is their home, their sanctuary.


Philippines to Probe Claim of Dam Failure at TVI Pacific's Mine

By Luzi Ann Javier, Bloomberg - http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=aFqYgcxbjZFg&refer=canada

19th July 2007

The Philippine government will send a team to investigate an allegation from an environmental group that a dam collapsed at TVI Pacific Inc.'s gold and copper mine in Mindanao. The Calgary-based company said the claim was untrue.

"We will convene a team to inspect ahead of the regular monitoring schedule,'' Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Director Jessica Lucero said from Zamboanga city in Mindanao. The mine is normally inspected once every three months.

The Philippines, which may have $1 trillion in mineral wealth, is trying to balance concerns for environmental safety with a drive to attract overseas investments in the mining industry. The government closed Lafayette Mining Ltd.'s copper- gold mine for 15 months from 2005 after a cyanide spill.

The Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment said in a statement a so-called sulphide dam at the Canatuan mine in Siocon town, Zamboanga del Norte province, collapsed on July 11 after heavy rains. The group had photographs to back the claim, it said.

The planned inspection ``is fine with us,'' Jay Nelson, vice president for the environmental department at TVI Pacific's Philippine unit, said by phone today. The dam was still under construction, and will be used once a mill is completed in March, Nelson said.

To contact the reporter for this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Manila ljavier@bloomberg.net


NGO reports breach in Zambo mine tailings dam

By Marianne V. Go, http://www.philstar.com/index.php?Business&p=49&type=2&sec=27&aid=2007071879

19th July 2007

TVI Pacific, a Canadian-owned firm operating a gold mining project in Canatuan, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, has reportedly suffered a sulphide tailings dam breach, according to non-government organization Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM).

ATM coordinator Roy Calfoforo said “this was the same dam that they built last year despite opposition from the local residents because it isn’t part of the 508 hectares covered by TVI’s mineral production and sharing agreement (MPSA) with the government.”

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is still verifying the report.

TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Inc., in a statement, denied the collapse and insisted that its impoundment facilities remain structurally sound.

According to Jay Nelson, TVIRD vice president for environment and civil works, there is only one operational tailings dam, the Gossan tailings dam, which is still “very much standing.”

Nelson said the company is constructing another suphides dam and a recent heavy downpour may have caused some of the red earthworks for the dam to be washed down.

Timuay Boy Anoy, leader of the Subanon people whose sacred mountain Canatuan has been affected by TVI operations, said that the MPSA was granted despite the absence of genuine consent from indigenous residents of the affected area.

“This only exposes the rhetoric of responsible mining that TVI flaunts,” according to Jo Villanueva, executive director of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, Inc. (LRC), a member of ATM.


Marinduque Legislators Reiterate 50-Year Mining Moratorium

MACEC News and Information Service

19th July 2007

BOAC, MARINDUQUE – At exactly 2:00 o'clock this afternoon, July 19, 2007, the nine (9) members of the 11th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Marinduque who were present during their Third Regular Session unanimously reiterated DECLARATION OF A FIFTY- (50) YEAR LARGE-SCALE MINING MORATORIUM in the whole Island-Province of Marinduque.

The Declaration was arrived at by the provincial Board after it summoned MACEC Executive Secretary Myke Magalang to speak before the august Body and enlighten them on the issues that MACEC Resolution No.2007-36 that requested for the same declaration cited.

The request of MACEC was sponsored on the floor of the legislative body by its Environmental Protection Committee Chairperson Hon. Allan. H. Nepomuceno. Other Board Members who concurred in and approved the Resolution include: Hon. Leticia A. Monte, Eleuterio R. Raza, Jr., Jose F. Alvarez, Ildefonso P. de los Santos, Cesaria G. Zoleta, Yolando R. Querubin, Nancy A. Iturralde, and Juan Carlos R. Pizarro. The 11th Sangguniang Panlalawigan is Presided by Vice-Governor Tomas N. Pizarro.

Magalang, in introducing his piece, reminded the legislators of the gallantry of the Marinduqueño revolutionists who toppled the American invaders during the Philippine-American War in Marinduque in 1900, as he read the various newspaper accounts from the United States of the American defeat. He challenged the legislators to display the same zeal and determination by not allowing foreign transnational mining companies to do their business and plunder the patrimony of the Marinduque Island.

The legislators confirmed that their position is also consistent with the policy of the current Governor Jose Antonio N. Carrion who will not allow the operation of any large-scale mining company in the province.

The 11th Sangguniang Panlalawigan also supported MACEC's opposition and objection to the application for exploration and mineral production sharing agreement by the Consolidated Mines, Inc., and the organization's request to the Department of Justice to expedite the prosecution of the criminal cases filed by the people against Marcopper executive officers in relation to the March 24, 1996 Boac River Disaster.

Magalang calls on the ATM network and partners to "please send messages of commendation and recognition to the 11th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Marinduque for their historic display of political will and in heeding the voices of the people" to motivate them further in their commitment for the cause of Marinduque's already fragile environment.


Revenue-sharing plan confuses mining firms

By Othel V. Campos, Manila Standard - http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=business4_july16_2007

16th July 2007

Mining companies with pending application for a Finance or Technical Assistance Agreement are confused over government rules defining the revenue-sharing scheme with private operators.

The FTAA is a mode of mining contract that allows majority foreign equity, and is open to large-scale mining projects with a capitalization of at least $50 million. A new regulation stipulates the benefit-sharing scheme between the FTAA contractor and the government, as owner of minerals.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has received 56 applications for FTAA covering several parts of the country. Many companies are also planning to convert their Mineral Production Sharing Agreements to FTAA.

In a dialogue Friday, members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines questioned the marketing aspect of the new rules, in which mining firms are being asked for increased transparency in releasing details of their marketing contracts.

“This new fiscal regime, as promulgated in a DENR memorandum order… is a scheme to harmonize profit-sharing of the state, who owns the minerals, and mining companies, who are operators of projects under their respective mining rights,” said chamber president Philip Romualdez.

He said the group would seek the comments of member-companies to assist the department in resolving the issue.

Meanwhile, Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes assured that the department would issue a clearer set of guidelines within the next few weeks.

He said the new rules required government approval on marketing contracts to ensure that the state got a fair share from the mining activity.


Manila's Atlas Mining eyes overseas share offer

18th July 2007

Reuters - http://investing.reuters.co.uk/news/articleinvesting.aspx?type=newIssuesNews&storyID=2007-07-18T105528Z_01_MAN98992_RTRIDST_0_PHILIPPINES-ATLAS.XML

MANILA - The Philippines' Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. said on Wednesday it was planning to list its shares overseas to raise at least $100 million to fund copper and nickel projects.

The Philippines' second largest mining firm, whose market value of $312.9 million translates to just 3 percent of the value of BHP Billiton ,said it was looking at the London Stock Exchange, Toronto Stock Exchange, and the Australian Stock Exchange for possible listings.

"We want to broaden the appeal of the company by widening our audience," Martin Buckingham, chief finance officer, told reporters, without giving a timetable.

He said part of the proceeds from the possible overseas listing would be used to expand copper production at its Carmen Copper Corp subsidiary.

Carmen Copper, whose Toledo copper mine in Cebu province in central Philippines was once the world's third largest copper producer, is ready to start full rehabilitation work at the mine, which was closed in 1994 after it was flooded by a typhoon.

The mine, with deposits of 874 million metric tonnes with an average grade of 0.41 percent copper, is expected to produce copper concentrates by the second quarter of 2008.

"We expect an initial production of 20,000 tonnes per day but ultimately we want to see 42,000 tonnes per day," Atlas chairman Alfredo Ramos told reporters.
Annual output from the mine is expected to average 47,000 tonnes of copper, 41,000 ounces of gold plus pyrite and iron ore magnetite concentrates.

Ramos said Carmen Copper's mine rehabilitation work would require about $150 million to $200 million.

Atlas has raised $100 million from a debt instrument with Deutsche Bank AG and $40 million from the Crescent Asian Special Opportunities Portfolio Fund.

Another Atlas subsidiary, Berong Nickel Corp., will raise $200 million to $300 million via either bank loans or a public listing to build a processing plant at its nickel mine in Palawan island, southwest of Manila.

Berong's three nickel mines in Palawan, one of the largest nickel laterite deposits in the world, are estimated to hold 275 million dry metric tonnes (DMT) with an average grade of 1.3 percent nickel.

Berong Nickel just completed its eighth shipment of nickel ore to China and expects direct shipments of ore to reach a total of 1 million DMT this year valued at between $15 million and $25 million.

The company expects nickel ore shipments to grow further to 9 million DMT in the next two to three years.

London-listed Toledo Mining has a 56.1 percent stake in Berong, and Australia's Investika Ltd. has 18.8 percent.

 

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