Nickel mining firm shut down 6 months ago to reopen in Agusan

SR Metals Inc. (SRMI), holder of a small-scale nickel mining permit and based in La Fraternidad in Tubay town, stopped its operation on September 24, 2007 citing problems in marketing its products.

The company’s permit only allowed them to mine a maximum of 20 hectares.

Its permit for a large-scale operation is expected to be released within this month.

The new permit will allow SRMI to operate in 1,000 hectares in Barangays La Fraternidad, Binuangan and Tagmamarkay, all in Tubay town.  

Anthony Ryan Culima, SRMI spokesperson, said their operation will start in the middle of March but he gave no definite date.  He, however, admitted that they worked hard for the approval of their application for MPSA despite satisfying the requirements of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Culima told MindaNews that they are ready to hire at least 2000 workers once they start their mining activities.

The Filipino-owned nickel ore mining company started its operation in March 2006 under a small-scale mining permit issued by the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board of Agusan del Norte.

But in November last year, Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza suspended SRMI’s operations supposedly for exceeding the annual extraction limit of 50,000 metric tons.

Environmentalist groups led by a Catholic parish priest of Tubay have strongly opposed the mining operation of SRMI.  

Fr. Luis Jenor, St. Anne parish priest, earlier said SRMI violated several mining laws specifically by using heavy equipment while their mining permit allowed only using picks and shovels.

Culima said the company has already secured the endorsements of local officials and obtained documents indicating that all environmental laws have been complied with since March 2007. (Alden Pantaleon/Mindanews)