The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has suspended the nickel mining operations of 4 mining firms in Central Luzon because of unsystematic methods.
Suspended were Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation, Benguet Corporation Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., and LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc.
Residents of Sta. Cruz, Zambales have reportedly been complaining of nickel contamination of shores and rice fields as a result of “uncontained” metal.
MGB Director Leo Jasareno said unsystematic strip mining leads to “inefficient recovery of minerals and adverse environmental impacts like siltation and dust generation.”
The companies were ordered to remove all stand-by stockpiles in open cut areas and store these in designated stockpile areas equipped with proper drainage systems.
The firms were also ordered to implement maintenance measures for the duration of their suspension. Compliance reports shall be sent to the MGB regional office.
In separate orders issued on July 15, MGB Region III director Danilo Uykieng also suspended activities for the expansion of the mining areas.
“All environmental protection and enhancement program should be continuously implemented,” Uykieng said.
The suspension orders were issued in response to the answers sent by the companies to the show cause orders sent by the MGB Region III on June 30.
The suspension orders were sent to Zambales Diversified president Cesar F. Simbulan, Jr.; Benguet Corporation Nickel Mines president Lina Fernandez; Eramen Minerals president Enrique Fernandez and LNL Archipelago president Lawrence Leonio.
Zambales Diversified Minerals is a joint venture of DMCI Mining Corporation and Australian miner Rusina Mining Corporation. It has a mine site in Sitio Acoje in Zambales.
Benguet Corporation Nickel Mines, a unit of diversified Benguet Corporation, operates the Sta. Cruz Nickel Project (SCNP) at Barrio Guisguis, Sta. Cruz, Zambales.
Eramen Minerals Inc. and LnL Archipelago Minerals likewise maintain mine sites in Sta. Cruz.
In September 2013, the Court of Appeals’ Fourth Division issued a writ of kalikasan, stopping Chinese miner LNL Archipelag from leveling a mountain in Barangay Bolitoc, Sta. Cruz. LNL Archipelago is building a seaport for the shipping of chromite-rich soil to China.