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DENR stops Ipilan operations

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issuedan order stopping Ipilan Nickel Corp., an affiliate of listed Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. (FNI), from further conducting operations despite the cancellation of its permit.

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in MIMAROPA issued the cease-and-desist order following reports Ipilan Mines is still operating in Brooke’s Point in Palawan without a valid environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

The order was an offshoot of an inspection conducted by the EMB, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and the local government unit within Ipilan’s area of operations.

“The inspection team discovered that Ipilan has constructed a mine yard road within its mining area even after its ECC was cancelled,” DENR said.

The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), another attached agency, also revoked the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) clearance issued in 2010.

In its resolution, the PCSD held that no SEP clearance should have been issued to Ipilan in the first place since the areas where it operates are “considered areas of maximum protection.”

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The PCSD added that other violations include the company’s failure to secure permit from the municipal government of Brooke’s Point.

PCSD has recommended to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu the cancellation of Ipilan’s mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) with the DENR.

Just last month, the DENR filed criminal charges against Ipilan following its alleged illegal tree-cutting spree in Palawan.

The DENR accused Ipilan of felling over 600 hardwood species of trees in an area not covered by the tree cutting permit the company secured last year in vioilation of the Forestry Code of the Philippines.

Ipilan holds the exclusive right to conduct mining operations in Brooke’s Point covering over 2,800 hectares, 260 hectares of which have been partially declared as mining area.

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