The operations of the Philippines only iron ore miner have been suspended for causing harm to the environmental. It brings to eight the number of mining operations in the country halted in a government crackdown but is the first non-nickel mine.

An environmental audit of all metallic mines was initiated in the Philippines on July 8 with seven nickel operations of six miners halted before the latest suspension.

The iron ore operation of Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp, which is in Bulacan province, north of Manila, was suspended after an investigation showed it polluted a river, according to Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Leo Jasareno.

“We’re stopping the whole operation,” said Leo Jasareno, adding that ore transport permits had been withdrawn. The company produced 40,000 tonnes of iron ore last year.

The audit into the country’s 40 mines is being spearheaded by new President Rodrigo Duterte and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez, who is a vocal environmental activist. The audit is expected to be completed this month.

The suspensions have helped push up global nickel prices to near 11-month highs.

Leo Jasareno expects an audit on OceanaGold Corp’s Didipio gold-copper mine in northern Luzon to be finished soon. Other miners being audited include Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co and Philex Mining Corp’s gold mines, also in Luzon, and Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp’s gold mine in central Visayas island.

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