Lopez lays down the law as four Philippine mining companies shut down
Just one week after she called for a complete review of all mining operations in the Philippines, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has announced the suspension of four mining companies for violating environmental standards.
BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Incorporated, Eramen Minerals Incorporated, LNL Archipelago Minerals Incorporated and Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation.
"We're following the law. There was a Writ of Kalikasan issued against these 4 companies by no less than the Supreme Court. So we're good. I'm just following the process," Lopez said.
Lopez said the number of firms that may be suspended would depend on the department's ongoing review.
"The audit will not just be technical; it will also be social. It must also be environmental. So it's not just going to be a technical audit. We're going to have teams of agriculturists and fishery experts, to make sure that there is no adverse impact of mine operations in the surrounding areas. That's what responsible mining is all about," she said.
Lopez said the law on mining states that industry players should "follow the principle of sustainable development" for future generations of Filipinos "with the view of improving quality of life both now and in the future."
She said that telltale signs of unlawful mining operations can be seen in their impact on the lives and livelihood of people in host communities.
"If their fish yield goes down, if the rivers and streams get affected – you can't earn money by causing suffering. It's not good; it's not within the law. Their quality of life is more important, very, very important. It (mining operations) must operate within the principle of the common good," Lopez added.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.