THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. (MMDC) to shut down its mining operations in Surigao del Sur after it was found to be operating outside the approved area.
In a telephone interview, Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) director Leo Jasareno said that a multi-disciplinary team found three major problems with MMDC’s operation – including the extraction of mineral resources outside its concession area, unsystematic operations and massive siltation to waterways.
“We have already written a letter to Marcventures to show cause why their operations should not be cancelled,” said Jasareno, who signed the order on behalf of DENR Secretary Ramon Paje.
“We wrote them informing that they are guilty of several prohibitions of the Mining Act, particularly the operations outside the mining area. They should immediately stop mining operations without prejudice to the imposition of penalties under the law,” he added.
MMDC, a subsidiary of publicly listed Marcventures Holdings Inc., is engaged in nickel production in Surigao del Sur. The company holds a mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) for a 4,799- hectare tenement located in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur.
However, Jasareno said that the multi-disciplinary team found that the company was mining in Carracas Town, which is outside the approved mining area, after a tribal group from Cantilan petitioned for the cancellation of the mining firm’s MPSA.
“When the group petitioned for the cancellation, we formed a multi-disciplinary team to assess the mining operations of the company. A few weeks ago the team reported that Marcventures is mining outside of the approved mining area,” Jasareno said.
At present, the DENR is evaluating the penalties that will be imposed against the company.
“It will be the court that would determine the amount of penalties as stated by the Mining Act,” Jasareno said, noting that illegal mining is considered as a criminal case.
The official, however, did not state whether such action by MMDC could lead to the cancellation of its MPSA.