Lepanto needs community's consent - mayor

By Maria Elena Catajan - http://www.sunstar.com.ph/baguio/local-news/2015/05/28/lepanto-needs-communitys-consent-mayor-410083
Date of publication: 
28 May, 2015

THE mayor of Mankayan town is convinced Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation (LCMC) still needs the consent of the community to keep its gold mines in the area open.

Lepanto needs a Free Prior Informed Consent because “that is the law,” Mayor Materno Luspian said.

Lepanto is seeking renewal of its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) for its Victoria mine in Benguet after it expired last March.

Local officials insist the company cannot apply for a renewal without an FPIC, which is required by the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA).

But Lepanto said it is not covered by the law because it obtained the agreement seven years before the law was enacted in 1997.

For now, the mine continues to operate because a Makati court has ordered the government not disrupt its operations until the dispute over its application for renewal its contract is resolved.

“We are waiting for the courts to decide,” Luspian said.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 29, 2015.