Benguet to sue DENR
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - February 23, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Listed miner Benguet Corp. and its subsidiary are taking legal action against the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) following a closure order,

Benguet Corp. and Benguet Nickel Mines Inc. (BNMI) were among the 28 firms that were ordered closed by Environment Secretary Gina Lopez earlier this month.

“We see no basis at all for the cancellation order and we will take all the necessary legal actions and exhaust all remedies available to prevent the implementation of the order,” the company said in a regulatory filing.

“We are set to file an immediate appeal which shall stay or stop the execution and implementation of the order until the issues are resolved on the merits under the law,” it added.

The company noted that the order failed to identify its specific environmental violations that would warrant cancellation of its authority to mine in its patent claim.

“We strongly object to such arbitrary actions being made without observance of due process and without basis in fact and in law,” Benguet said.

The company maintained that the order is unjustifiable as it noted it is ISO certified.

Benguet also claimed it has not abandoned its Antamok mine nor it has withdrawn on its obligation to rehabilitate the area.

For its part, BNMI dismissed allegations it has impaired the function of the watershed in the area following the cancellation of its mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA).

“Our nickel project continues to be operated outside of any known, critical or declared watershed,” it said.

BNMI said its contract area is located within the Zambales Chromite Mineral Reservation, which has been excluded from the government declared watersheds as proven by area clearance issued by DENR.

The company also expects to be able to haul the earlier validated stockpiles pursuant to the ore transport permits given by the MGB which directed the removal of the stockpiles for environmental reasons.

“Although the issuance of the permits was delayed, we hope to substantially complete the hauling and shipment of the stockpiles before the start of the rainy season, barring any unforeseen circumstances,” BNMI said.

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