MGB orders suspension of mining operations of Chinese nickel miner

By Czeriza Valencia, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 22 2012 10:26 AM | Updated as of Jul 22 2012 06:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has ordered the suspension of the operations of nickel miner Shenzou Mining Group Corporation in Claver, Surigao del Norte because of excessive siltation in the area.

The MGB declared the suspension in an order dated July 18, 2012.

Shenzou is the Operator of Claver Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) under Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) No. 103-98-XIII(SMR) which was granted to CMDC by the MGB on February 23, 1998.

The MPSA covers the contract area of 433.9798 hectares located in Claver, Surigao del Norte.

In 2011, Shenzou was able to ship out 1.9 million tons of nickel ore to China valued at P1.09 billion.

The order of suspension was issued after the assessment of the MGB’s multi-disciplinary team.

The team reported that Shenzou failed to address over siltation in the area and “ aggravated” the situation by constructing a settling pond by the sea.

A settling pond is a structure where silt-laden water is impounded temporarily so that silt is able to settle down, after which water is allowed to overflow silt-free.

The Multi-disciplinary team is composed of scientists from MGB, the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR, University of the Philippines (UP)-National Institute of Geological Sciences, UP-Marine Science Institute and Bureau of Soils and Water Management.

MGB said that prior to the issuance of the suspension order, it wrote to Shenzou about the siltation problem and required it to show cause why its mining operation in the area should not be suspended.