Thousands of mining company workers affected by DENR suspension order

Rex Ruta, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2016 07:41 PM

PALAWAN - Workers from suspended mining companies in Palawan are still waiting for the decision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) if the suspension on mining operations will stay.

Workers have claimed thousands of mine workers are affected by the suspension.

Some workers also testified that their companies gave their children scholarship grants. The companies also provided community projects for their benefit.

Data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) show that 1,846 workers are affected by the suspension of Citinickel and 1,838 workers are affected by the suspension of Berong Nickel.

Data for the whole county showed a total 10,221 workers and scholars were affected by the suspension of six mining companies.

Numbers of affected workers are as follows:

LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc.

Regulars: 131
Contractuals: 696
Scholars: 106

Zambales Diversified Metals Corp.

Regular: 32
Contractuals: 800
Scholars: 340

Eramen Minerals Inc.

Regular: 150
Contractuals: 1,703
Scholars: 191

Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines Inc.

Regulars: 141
Contractuals: 1,909
Scholars: 328

Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation (Narra & Espanola)

Workers: 1,846

Berong Nickel Corporation

Workers: 1,838

But while some houses had posters showing support for mining companies in Quezon, Palawan, residents in the area are against the mining operation because the one percent royalty share that has been agreed upon has yet to be given to them.

Berong Nickel was suspended last June 28 because of the laterite spill from the mining company's siltation pond to Liabongan River. Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation in Narra and Española, on the other hand, was suspended last July 22 for conducting mining operation in an area not covered by their Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) Clearance from the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development.

The MGB also considered the letter from the Environmental Legal Assistance Center or ELAC seeking the cancellation of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement or MPSA for violations committed by Citinickel against the provisions of Republic Act (RA) no. 7942, or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and RA no. 7611, or the SEP for Palawan Act of 1992.