MGB-Caraga says will reject dormant mine applicants

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/11 Oct.) —The Mines and Geosciences Bureau-13 has notified at least 20 applicants of mining exploration permits being considered dormant that their applications would be rejected if they failed to comply with the requirements.

Noli Arreza, acting regional director of MGB-13 told MindaNews that these 20 large-scale mining applicants from five different provinces in Caraga had neither made any progress on their applications nor submitted the requirements.

Arreza said only a few replied to their first notice.

He added the second notice asked the applicants to submit the requirements including paid-up capital and authorized capitalization.

He said Executive Order 79 which came out on June 6 last year requires mining applicants a paid-up capital of P 6.25 million from P2.5 million and an authorized capitalization of P 100 million from what used to be P10 million.

Arreza said failure to meet the requirements after notifications and due process will mean a rejection of their applications.

He said the President wanted to get rid of speculators in the mining industry that would just sell their rights to other companies at a much higher price.

He said that since most companies would not buy these rights “mining areas which must have economic activities are still dormant per see because of the exclusive mining rights given to these speculators then.”

Dulmar Raagas, the president of Chamber of Mines Caraga said the MGB’s move is to ensure mining rights must be given to companies or individuals that are capable to stimulate economic activities in an area.

Nokie Calunsag, media campaign officer of Green Mindanao Inc., said the MGB should stop issuing mining permits even huge companies have caused irreparable damage to the environment.

Calunsag cited the siltation in Claver Bay in Surigao del Norte reportedly caused by mining operations.

“Fishermen could no longer fish in this area and we should not allow more pollution to happen in our communities,” he said over the phone.

Meanwhile, a month after starting its commercial operations, the Taganito High Pressure Acid Leach Nickel Corporation has applied for ore transport and mineral ore export permits before the MGB.

Arreza said that the mining company is ready to ship out 2,500 metric tons of nickel sulfides and cobalt sulfides to Japan.

He said these products came from Barangay Taganito in Claver town and were processed at the company’s metallurgical processing plant in the same area where its commercial operations began last September 4.

The plant cost at US$1.6 billion and is expected to produce 30,000 metric tons of nickel sulfide and 2600 MT cobalt sulfide each year.

The two chemicals will be refined in Japan.

Arreza said they will just wait for the issuance of the permits by the MGB’s main office in Manila.

“Once approved, this will be the first foreign shipment of the company,” he said. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)