Palace lifts suspension of Lepanto mining

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MANKAYAN, Benguet  – The Office of the President provisionally lifted the suspension of operations of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company after finding merit to the company’s appeal, provided that it will be able to comply with the prescribed requirements.

In an order dated October 12, 2017, the Office of the President (OP) provisionally lifted the suspension order dated February 8, 2017 which was handed down by former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Regina Lopez for the various violations found by the team created to audit the operations of mining companies in the different parts of the country.

Based on the decision of the Office of the President, Lepanto was ordered to pay fines of P27,275 to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), another P100,000 to the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and for the company to implement the appropriate mitigating measures to address whatever problems that were uncovered in the report.

The Palace stated that the mining company is mandated to implement the appropriate mitigating measures within a period of six months from receipt of the said order.

Further, the OP directed the concerned government agencies to conduct a monthly monitoring on Lepanto’s compliance with the decision prescribing the needed corrective measures and to submit to them a monthly monitoring report regarding the progress of the company’s implementation of the mandated corrective measures.

Based on a statement from the company, Lepanto is considering its next potions vis-à-vis the decision handed down by the office of the President.

Lepanto Vice-President and Assistant Corporate Secretary Odette A. Javier reported the latest decision from the OP to the Philippine Stock Exchange considering that the company is publicly listed.

Earlier, Lepanto and four other mining firms were suspended on the grounds that their mine sites were situated inside a watershed.

The Office of the President’s decision was based on the findings of the DENR’s audit reviews and came before the results of a separate review being conducted by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) on the country’s existing mines.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier said his policy direction would heavily rely on the findings of MICC that are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) welcomed OP’s favorable response to one of its members, saying the suspension order issued by Lopez had really no basis.

This sends a positive signal that the government is starting to act on these pending matters which have largely caused uncertainties in the industry, COMP officials stated.

Lepanto has been operating as one of the country’s large-scale mining company in the region over the past eight decades and it was able to significantly contribute to the overall economic growth and development of this mineral-rich municipality and province providing sustainable livelihood opportunities and jobs for the thousands of residents living within its host communities and adjoining areas inside and outside the Cordillera.

By HENT

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