BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—The Didipio gold-copper mine here continues to operate after OceanaGold Philippines Inc. immediately filed an appeal with the Office of the President, which stays the execution of the suspension order from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
OceanaGold’s Melbourne-based parent company, in a statement published by Perth-based Mining Weekly magazine, said it received a copy of the suspension order signed by Environment Secretary Regina Lopez dated Feb. 8.
Manila Standard obtained a copy of the order, which was sent by registered mail to the president of OceanaGold Philippines as well as the directors of the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau and Environmental Management Bureau.
It was not clear how long Didipio’s operations stopped, but Standard sources, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized by OceanaGold, said the stoppage “probably took just three hours on Tuesday [Feb. 14 or Valentine’s Day].”
“The company told shareholders that the order repeated allegations previously made by the government, citing petitions from the local government, that nearby houses had suffered damage as a result of blasting at the operations, as well as the mine’s alleged adverse impacts to the agricultural areas in the province,” the Australian miner’s statement in Mining Weekly said.
OceanaGold was given “three months to address and fix the issues raised” in the suspension order, it added.
OceanaGold president and CEO Mick Wilkes said the Didipio operation has not violated or breached any laws, and expressed his belief the operation is a template of what is considered “responsible mining” in the Philippines.
Lopez on Tuesday ordered the closure of 75 mining companies for operating in watershed areas, including OceanaGold and most members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.