DENR Sec. Regina Lopez Ordered to Stop Nickel Ore Stockpile Transport to China

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The new Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Paz Lopez ordered Hinatuan Mining Corp., an affiliate of the Nickel Asia Corp., to stop the removal and loading of mining wastes from Manicani mine in Guian, Eastern Samar in order to prevent further environmental degradation as a result of excessive soil extraction.

Manicani Island, a part of Guiuan Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape under the Presidential Proclamation No. 469. Department of Environment and Natural Resources granted license to HMC to mine nickel in the stated island, but ordered it to stop operations in 2011 due to some environmental concerns.

In the 2014, Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Director Leo Jasareno wrote letter to NAC chairman Zamora, allowing HMC to dispose nickel ore stockpile in Manicani Island “in order to mitigate risks.”

According to MGB, the presence of such a stockpile carries risk of polluting surrounding waters, especially when heavy rains that can wash away minerals into the sea.

May 2016, after obtaining Mineral Ore Transport Permit from MGB Region 8 Office, HMC resumed the removal of mining waste and loading these into waiting barge for transporting out of the mine site. The said process was expected to be completed this year depending on weather condition.

However, Lopez said that an audit of the mine showed that it would be detrimental to the island’s environment if mining waste removal will be continued.

“Our audit shows that they are taking too much soil, which goes to China. We are suspending the retrieving of the stockpiles, to address the ecological balance,” Lopez said at sidelines of Financial Executives Institute of Philippines general membership meeting held in Makati City.

Instead of shipping ore to China, DENR chief said she would order HMC to use nickel ore for the mine restoration and the conduct of necessary remedial measures in order to prevent nickel ore stockpiles from siltating and polluting water bodies in the Island.

excerpt from source: kapinoy

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