Mining firm resumes DENR approval process

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After two years of delay, Toronto-listed St. Augustine Gold and Copper Ltd. said that it has resumed engagement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the approval of the company’s environmental impact statement (EIS) for the $2-billion King-king copper-gold project in Mindanao.

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Clyde Gillespie, St. Augustine country manager, told reporters that the company recently met with representatives from the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau for the resumption of approval process for the company’s EIS, which is a major requirement to secure an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

“We’ve had initial meetings with the EMB to get the process restarted and we’ve been doing some drilling at the site to get some information for geo-hazard survey which is needed as part of the EIS. We are working closely with the EMB,” he added.

Projects that pose potential significant impact to the environment, such as mining, are required to secure an ECC from DENR-EMB.

Mining companies should acquire a positive review of the ECC application, certifying that based on the representations of the proponent, the proposed project or undertaking will not cause significant negative environmental impact.

The ECC also contains specific measures and conditions that the project proponent has to undertake before and during the operation of the project, and in some cases, during the project’s abandonment phase to mitigate identified environmental impacts.

The ECC also certifies that the proponent has complied with all the requirements of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System and has committed to implement its approved Environmental Management Plan.

Stalled process
In February 2012, St. Augustine submitted the initial draft of its EIS to the EMB, but the review process was stalled for two years, because of technical requirements set by regulators; and partly because of ongoing intra-corporate dispute in its Philippine partner Nationwide Development Corp. (Nadecor).

Nadecor is the holder of the mineral production-sharing agreement for the King-king project.

Gillespie said that the EMB has conducted initial review of the company’s EIS, and has given comments on technical matters.

“Now we have an update version that is almost ready to go back to them,” the mining executive added.

Gillespie, however, said that ownership issues remained the biggest impasse for the granting     of the ECC, saying that the         certificate will determine the proponents’ liability.

The ownership dispute within Nadecor’s two boards headed by Conrado Calalang and Jose     Ricafort is still pending before     the Supreme Court.

Amid disputes and regulatory hurdles, Gillespie said that St. Augustine remains on track with its 2015 production target.

The King-king copper-gold project is expected to produce 3.1 billion pounds of copper and 5.43 million ounces of gold over its 22-year mine life.

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8 Comments

  1. Blake Rodriguez on

    St. Augustine has great plans for their host community. They seem to have a solid environmental protection plan. This project will bring in great revenue to the country. The DENR has no reason to hold out on the permit.

  2. St. Augustine shouldn’t have to jump through hoops just to get this project going. It seems clear that the mining company will help improve the lives of the people of Pantukan and it will benefit the country’s economy without sacrificing the environment, so why delay the permit? Hopefully they get it soon and get the project started already.

  3. The EMB and the DENR should be able to see how Kingking has environmentally safe mining practices, specially compared to those illegal miners who are very destructive to the environment and pose a danger to the surrounding communities of their mining areas. Kingking should get the necessary permits to operate and help keep the mining industry alive.

  4. Meredith Pacheco on

    DENR should not delay their approval for this project and let it go to waste. It’s a very promising project with a good environmental plan in place and will greatly help the community. They shouldn’t wait till these investors get tired and decide to pack up and leave.

  5. Charity Napalan on

    St. Augustine laid out their plans and everything is in order. Even before the project could operate,the company continue to provide community assistance for the people in Compostela. With this plan,the company hope that they will be granted permit the soonest. This will not only provide opportunities for local residents but also more revenues for economic growth.

  6. I really cannot fathom the logic of government in delaying the approval for the application of St. Augustine when everything is in order. Must it wait for the company to get tired and leave? We the poor people of Compostela Vally are waiting for the project to start because this will alleviate our situation.

  7. Pantukan Examiner on

    Government must immediately grant the application so that the project could start as soon as possible. It has been delayed and we the people of Pantukan is waiting for this project to happen, considering the potentials of the project and the commitment of St. Augustine, this could never go wrong.

  8. Why is the Ricafort group still an issue? I do believe that the CA has made a decision and that it should be adhered to while waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision.