One of the Philippines major mines, the Didipio Gold Project operated by OceanaGold Corporation through its Philippines subsidiary Oceanagold Phils Inc, is among those on a list of mines to be suspended as part of the audit. The reason cited by Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Secretary Regina Lopez for Didipio’s suspension was alleged declining agricultural production.
In an OceanaGold statement the company said no further details of such an order were forthcoming at the press conference of Secretary Lopez.
“We understand Didipio was one of six mining operations listed for proposed suspension, with another 23 mining operations listed for closure. The company confirms that it has not received any formal suspension order from the DENR. Accordingly mining and processing activities are continuing unabated at the Didipio mine.
“There is no legal basis for any proposed suspension. The Didipio operation is not in violation of any laws, rules or regulations, and the operation is not posing any threat to public, security, health, safety or otherwise.”
OceanaGold president and CEO Mick Wilkes said, “This decision announced by the DENR Secretary is unjustified nor has any basis in law. We have not received any show cause notice from the DENR nor have we received a suspension order. Should we ultimately receive a suspension order as suggested we have very strong legal grounds to have it overturned.
“Our Didipio mine is a partnership with the Government of the Philippines through the Office of the President and has a strong social licence to operate. We are a large employer of Filipino nationals, and our operation delivers significant benefits to the local communities.
“As proof of this, Didipio was announced as the joint winner of the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award in recognition of our exemplary performance in safe and environmentally responsible mining,” said Mick Wilkes.