Xstrata closer to start mining in Philippines
MANILA: Global miner Xstrata Plc's US$5.9 billion (RM18.3 billion) Tampakan mine in the Philippines has been granted an environmental compliance certificate by the government, the company said yesterday, removing one of the hurdles delaying work on Southeast Asia's biggest copper-gold prospect.
The Tampakan project, the Philippines' single largest foreign direct investment, has been held up by a 2010 ban on open-pit mining imposed by the provincial government of South Cotabato.
That ban is still in place, but the central government's grant of the environmental compliance certificate, or ECC, puts Xstrata a step closer to actual construction of the mine. The company, however, still needs at least three more local permits before work can begin.
"We received an official notification that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has signed the ECC for our Tampakan mine project," said Sagittarius Mines Inc, the local unit of Xstrata.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje said the government had included certain conditions in the ECC "in order to protect and mitigate possible adverse impacts of the project on the community health, welfare and the environment".
Sagittarius had filed for an ECC in 2010, shortly before the local council of South Cotabato banned open pit mining - the extraction method it plans to use.
Paje had previously said an ECC for the project cannot be issued while the ban was in place. But a mining council, overseen by President Benigno Aquino's office, ordered the environment department to grant Sagittarius the ECC if it had complied with all requirements. Reuters