DENR mines audit: RTN/CBNC passed; BNC, CitiNickel still suspended

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) today released the results of its audit on mining operations in the country and based on the announcement, Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTN)/Coral Bay Nickel Corporation, which operates in Bataraza, Palawan, is among the 11 mining firms that passed the Department’s regulatory standards.

In a phone interview of Palawan News with DENR Undersecretary Leo Jasareno, he confirmed that RTN will not be facing suspension but will still be continuously monitored. “May mga ilang minor violations na nakita, but that does not warrant for suspension,” Jasareno said.

The Undersecretary also clarified that although CBNC is not included in the list, RTN and CBNC were treated as “one” in the audit because the latter is operating inside the mining premises of RTN. “Hindi lang nalagay, but definitely hindi sila suspended.”

RTN’s Community Relations Manager Reynaldo dela Rosa said via phone interview that they are happy with the results. “Masaya kami siyempre, pero hindi kumpleto ang saya kasi ‘yung sister company namin (Hinatuan Mining Corporation) is recommended for suspension. Nakita naman din natin effort nila to comply with all the requirements,” dela Rosa said.

Ernesto Llacuna, Consultant for RTN/CBNC, said that he is also happy with the statement of Usec Jasareno, particularly about CBNC passing the audit, although he thinks it will be better if there is a clearer report on the results as far as CBNC is concerned.

Meanwhile, Usec Jasareno explained that all ten (10) mining firms that were previously suspended, which included Palawan-based Berong Nickel Corporation (BNC) and Citincikel Mines and Development Corporation (CitiNickel), are all recommended to maintain in suspension indefinitely.

May mga mitigating measures na pinapagawa sa kanila, so titingnan natin along the process kung nagagawa ba,” he said.

Palawan News has asked for comments or reactions from the management of CitiNickel and BNC regarding the audit results; there is still no response from the former, while the latter wanted their top management in Manila to deal with the matter.

The DENR also revealed today that 20 more mining firms in the country are recommended for suspension and will be given a show cause order. The companies will be asked to answer within 7 days upon receiving the order, particularly to give justifications on why their operations should not be suspended.

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