ORE unit resumes Palawan operations

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After completing regulatory requirements, the mining unit of listed firm Oriental Peninsula Resources Group (ORE) has resumed operations in one of its mining projects in Palawan province.

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In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, ORE said that the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has lifted the suspension order against the mining operations of its wholly owned subsidiary Citinickel Mines and Development Corp. in the town of Narra in Palawan.

ORE said the MGB has also allowed CMDC to resume exports of ore from existing stockpiles in the municipality of Sofronio Española while the company continues its cleanup and rehabilitation program after a spill incident on June 5 this year.

MGB Director Leo Jasareno, however, clarified that the lifting of the suspension order only covers the Narra mining operations, stressing that the mining operations at the Sofronio Española project have yet to comply with the requirements and conditions set by the government to address the environmental damage caused by the breach of its siltation control facilities.

“We have allowed the company to continue mining at Narra, but the suspension order against the Sofronio Española operations stays since they have yet to address all our requirements,” Jasareno said in a telephone interview. The MGB suspended all mining operations of CMDC in the province after a breach in the company’s Block C siltation control facility located in Barangay Pulot, Sofronio Española.

The incident resulted in a release of lateritic sediments into Pasi River, down to main Pulot River, and thence to delta area of the river system, causing massive discoloration of the waters.

“This will definitely leave a negative mark on the Citinickel’s track record since this was already the second spillage incident,” Jasaresno said, citing the 2012 tailings spill at the company’s Toronto nickel site, also in Palawan.

On Friday, ORE said that Citinickel has almost completed its compliance with the conditions set by the MGB in order for the company to resume its mining operations in Sofronio Española.

“The board of directors of CMDC has decided to take a pro-active stance with respect to the installation and implementation of preventive measures to protect the environment, especially at its Española project,” ORE said.

“Consequently, without need for prior instructions or order from the concerned governmental agencies, CMDC took the initiative of introducing improvements and making realignments of all environmental protective structures in Española, especially in anticipation of the coming rainy season. This is in keeping with the company’s commitment to responsible mining, by prioritizing the protection of the country’s natural resources,” the company added.

ORE also noted that CMDC has sufficient ore in its existing stockpile in Sofronio, Española to sustain its export operations while it has temporarily halted its mining operations.

“It is believed that there will be no significant impact on the financial condition of the company,” it said.

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