Mindoreños to mount huge rally vs mining on Independence Day


CITY OF CALAPAN—A mammoth multisectoral rally is set to be held in this city on Friday, Independence Day, to protest the decision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to allow a European nickel company to operate on Mindoro Island.

Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. issued a memorandum on June 9, requiring all officials and employees of the provincial capitol to participate in the June 12 protest.

““Our collective stand will staunchly affirm our fight against large scale mining and our passionate care for the Mother Earth and the environment,” Umali said in the memorandum.

Several civil society organizations are joining the protest, including ABS-CBN’s Bantay Kalikasan. Cybermovement to Stop Mindoro Nickel Project, Rotary Club of Downtown Calapan, and members of the academic and religious sectors.

The DENR last month reinstalled the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of Mindoro Nickel Project of Intex Resources ASA to mine ore in Mindoro even as both provinces of Oriental and Occidental have issued ordinances banning large-scale mining for 25 years.

The DENR said the mining operation, deemed detrimental to the island’s ecosystem, should not proceed if the local governments oppose it.

Among the objections to the project was that the mining site, which covers around 12,000 hectares in the mountainous areas of Victoria town in Oriental Mindoro and Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro, covers a critical watershed area and an ancestral domain.

The ECC was temporarily revoked six years ago as a result of the 10-day hunger strike staged by Mindoreños, including tribal people, religious and local government officials in front of the DENR headquarters in Quezon City.

After learning of the reinstatement of the ECC, Umali, on May 12, issued a “cease and desist order” to Intex Resources Philippines, Inc., stopping it from any exploration, mining and related activities in the province.

On June 4, local officials led by Vice Gov. Humerlito Dolor met with environmentalists and other stakeholders where he pledged the provincial government’s commitment to stop the nickel project, stressing that the provincial government would stand by the 25-year mining moratorium in the province that will end in 2027.

The Oriental Mindoro provincial government imposed a 25-year large scale mining ban through an ordinance it adopted in January 2002. The provincial government of Occidental Mindoro issued a similar ordinance.

The Norway-based Intex on April 9 announced on its website the reinstatement of the ECC for its “world-class” Mindoro nickel project, which the company has described as its “main asset.”

The project is expected to produce 100 to 120 million tons of ore over 15 to 20 years.

—————————————————— Mindoro rallies to stop nickel/cobalt mine

by Jerry J. Alcayde, Manila Bulletin – http://www.mb.com.ph/mindoro-rallies-to-stop-nickelcobalt-mine/#Az0HE1sl...

10 June 2015

Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro – Anti-mining advocates will stage a big multi-sectoral rally tomorrow, June 12 in their bid to finally stop the multi-million peso nickel and cobalt mining operations of a Norwegian company which recently its suspended environmental compliance certificate (ECC) reinstated.

The rally will be spearheaded by ABS-CBN Bantay kalikasan and Cybermovement to Stop Mindoro Nickel Project and will be supported by Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso V. Umali,Jr. Calapan City Mayor Arnan C. Panaligan, mayors of the 14 municipalities of the province, Bishop Warlito Cajandig and other cause-oriented groups.

The groups are protesting the decision of the Office of the President lifting the suspension of the ECC previously granted to Intex Resources Philippines Inc., the mining company that plans to extract huge deposits of nickel and cobalt in central Mindoro mountains.

The protesters will gather first at three designated assembly areas in Calapan City such as in Xentro Mall, Minscat Calapan and old City Plaza and will converge at 3:00 pm at an open parking area near the Citimart and Jollibee restaurant along J.P. Rizal Street.

Last March 4, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa lifted the suspension of the ECC of Intex which had been put aside since 2009 due to alleged legal procedural lapses and violations of the agreement with the government.

Kalasmina, a cause-oriented group, condemned the action of Ochoa as it only shows the bias of Malacañang in favor of a giant foreign mining company at the expense of the welfare and safety of the people in Mindoro. The DENR officially implemented the lifting of the ECC suspension lastApril 7 and allowed it to operate for four years and ten months under the terms and conditions of the ECC.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan, led by Vice-Governor Humerlito A. Dolor passed a resolution last June 1, requesting DENR Secretary Ramon Paje to finally revoke the ECC of Intex by invoking also the 25-year mining moratorium ordinance.


Governor shuts down nickel mining in Oriental Mindoro

by Jerry J. Alcayde, Manila Bulletin – http://www.mb.com.ph/governor-shuts-down-nickel-mining-in-oriental-mindo...

5 June 2015

Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro — Governor Alfonso V. Umali Jr., has issued a cease and desist order against all operations of a Norwegian mining company planning to extract nickel and cobalt in the central part of Mindoro.

In a letter addressed to company officials of Intex Resources Philippines, Inc., Umali ordered the mining firm and its affiliates to immediately stop their exploration and related activities in Oriental Mindoro, invoking a provincial ordinance imposing a 25-year mining moratorium in the province.

He said Oriental Mindoro, as a local government unit (LGU), has all the rights to impose restrictions on any mining company conducting large-scale mining activities in the province.

The governor cited Section 3 of Provincial Ordinance No. 001-2002 which states, among others, that “it shall be unlawful for any person or business entity to engage in land clearing, prospecting, explorations, drilling, excavations, mining, transport of mineral ores and such other activities in furtherance of or preparatory to all forms of mining operations for a period of 25 years.”

The Mindoro Nickel Project of the Oslo-based Intex Resources is largest mining asset in its global operations with a total investment of US$4.5 billion in capital and operating costs.

Records at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) indicated that the project has a 113-square kilometer concession area that extends to Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro.

Last Monday, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan led by Vice-Governor Humerlito A. Dolor passed a resolution requesting DENR Secretary Ramon Paje to revoke the reinstated environmental compliance certificate of Intex citing several violations and disadvantages of the mining project to the province.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Oriental Mindoro unanimously approved a resolution requesting the resolution last Monday expressing the strong opposition of Mindoreños against large-scale mining particularly the multi-million Mindoro Nickel Project of Intex Resources Philippines Inc., an Oslo-based mining company.

Oriental Mindoro Vice-Governor Humerlito “Bonz” A. Dolor said the said resolution, is a reiteration of their previous resolution passed on January 28, 2002 declaring a 25-year moratorium on large-scale mining in Oriental Mindoro which is still in effect.

The ECC was suspended 2009 by virtue of DENR Special order No. 2009-921, but last March 4, the Office of the President thru Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa lifted the suspension of the ECC issued to Intex.

“The reinstatement of the ECC is a blatant disregard of the opposition of most numbers of local government units, the church and civil society groups, both in Oriental and Occidental Mindoro,” the resolution stated.

Under the present resolution which was authored by the vice-governor himself, the Mindoro Nickel Project is vehemently opposed since it is located in the upper portion of Barangay Villa Cerveza in Victoria, part of the central range of Mindoro which serves as a contiguous watershed to more than 15 river systems.

Vice-Gov. Dolor said the mining project is also incompatible with the sustainable development agenda of the provincial government which is anchored on food security and eco-tourism.

Another matter of contention is the fact that the area covered by the project is within the ancestral domain of the Mangyan tribes. Dolor revealed that Intex reportedly failed to secure the consent of affected indigenous cultural communities.