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SMI may seek P-Noy action on ECC bid

- Ma. Elisa Osorio  () - February 17, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI), the Philippine subsidiary of Swiss based Xstrata, said they are prepared to go to court or even file an appeal before President Aquino if the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) denies their motion for reconsideration on their application for an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of yesterday’s mining forum, SMI president Peter Forrestal said there are a number of things that they could do if the DENR denies their appeal.

At the same forum, Tampakan Mayor Leonardo V. Escobillo Sr. said they have a petition that they would submit to President Aquino. The petition is pro SMI. Escobillo said more than 90 percent of his constituents signed the petition.

Escobillo warned that illegal mining can take over responsible mining if the license is not granted. “We support responsible mining,” he said.

Earlier, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje had denied the ECC application of Sagittarius Mines in deference to the open-pit mining ban imposed by South Cotabato, asking the mining firm to first resolve the issue with the provincial government.

Sagittarius Mines formally lodged last Jan. 27 a motion for reconsideration before the Environment department.

Meanwhile, international export on resource economics David Pearce presented the potential game changing impact of the Tampakan Copper-Gold project on the economy.

Pearce, the executive director of the Center for International Economics said the project would make a substantial long-term contribution to the economy through various direct channels including payment of taxes and royalties, employment and purchase of goods and services.

In fact, according to him the project can potentially contribute an average of additional one percent per year to the gross domestic product over a period of 20 years.

For regions where the mining project is located, the project would contribute a 10.4 percent increase in GDP.

Pearce said these projections are based on the result of the economic analysis that is part of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the Tampakan project.

In relation to this, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said the study only strengthens their claim that responsible mining will be good for the economy.

Data shows that between 2007 and 2010, investments in operating and expanding projects reached $3 billion. As of end 2010, large scale metallic and non metallic mining has generated over two million direct and indirect jobs.

In 2010, total taxes paid by the industry is nearly P14 billion.

CHAMBER OF MINES OF THE PHILIPPINES DAVID PEARCE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY RAMON PAJE ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF THE TAMPAKAN ESCOBILLO ESCOBILLO SR. MINING PRESIDENT AQUINO SAGITTARIUS MINES
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