In a dialogue with People’s Organizations and Civil Society Organizations in Palawan today, July 22, DENR Secretary Regina Lopez announced that she has recently ordered the suspension of two of CitiNickel Mines and Development Corporation’s mining operations in Palawan, namely the ones in Narra and Sofronio Española, because of several environmental violations. The suspension order takes effect today.
Lopez’ pronouncement is in response to the appeal of Osin Andane, representative of Pinegtibukang Kaeundangundangan It Pelawan Atet Sofronio Espanola, which sought for the suspension of CitiNickel due to several violations. In a letter submitted by Andane to Lopez, the former narrated some of the violations of CitiNickel, such as getting inappropriate samples for water quality sampling, depriving the indigenous people of the benefits stipulated in their memorandum of agreement with the mining company, non-payment of taxes and failure to release the 1% royalty share of IPs since 2011.
Lopez stressed in her statement that all mining companies will undergo strict auditing, with primary focus on technical, environmental and social compliance.
Meanwhile, Pamela Miguel, Community Relations Manager of CitiNickel refused to comment yet on the suspension order. “Ngayon lang namin narinig (during the dialogue) about the suspension,” she said. (“We’ve heard of it just now” (during the dialogue)). She said they will issue an official statement on the matter upon receipt of the suspension order.
Prior to CitiNickel’s suspension, the DENR has also suspended Berong Nickel Corporation in Quezon, Palawan because of the company’s failure to contain laterite run-off from its operations, which lead to the overflow of said mineral to Llabongan River and connected water bodies.
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