MGB lifts suspension of BNMI project

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - February 23, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has temporarily lifted the suspension order imposed on Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines Inc. (BNMI).

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, listed Benguet Corp. said its wholly-owned subsidiary BNMI, which operates the nickel project in Sta. Cruz in Zambales, the notice of the temporary lifting of the suspension order on the extraction of ores and future expansion of mining areas from MGB Region III last Friday.

In a telephone interview, MGB director Leo Jasareno said the lifting of the suspension order is subject to the firm’s compliance to certain environmental requirements.

“We’ve lifted the suspension order, but they have to comply with certain mitigating measures within a deadline,” he said.

Among the conditions the firm has to comply with is the submission of an alternative mine plan, full payment for damages and full conduct of mine rehabilitation.

The conditions, Jasareno said, needs to be met within one to three months from date of receipt of the notice of lifting of the suspension order.

Last year, the MGB suspended the nickel extraction operations of BNMI and other mining firms such as Eramen Minerals Inc., LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc. and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp. because of unsystematic strip mining methods.

The unsystematic strip mining operations resulted in inefficient recovery of minerals and adverse environmental impacts like siltation in bodies of water and generation of dust.

Before the suspension of operations, residents of Sta. Cruz were complaining of nickel contamination in shores and rice fields.

The companies have been ordered to remove all stand-by stockpiles in open cut areas and store such in designated stockpile areas equipped with proper drainage systems.

 

ARCHIPELAGO MINERALS INC BENGUET CORP CRUZ ERAMEN MINERALS INC JASARENO LEO JASARENO MINES AND GEOSCIENCES BUREAU NICKEL MINES INC PHILIPPINE STOCK EXCHANGE SUSPENSION ZAMBALES DIVERSIFIED METALS CORP
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