Mining firms in Philippines anticipate more government audits


Mining companies in the Philippines will have to undergo more than three regulatory audits this year, and this will be the new normal from now on, a top mining official said.

Dante Bravo, president of Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc., the third largest nickel ore producer in the Philippines and the largest single lateritic mine exporter in the world, said the effect of former Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez had in the mining industry is still very apparent up to this day.

During her term in 2017, Lopez wanted to shut down and suspend more than half of the operating mines in the country, citing environmental violations. To do this, she launched a government-led audit against mining companies, which was followed by another audit carried by interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) a few months later.

This year, MICC would conduct a second round of audits to go after big mining companies, most of which already passed the Lopez-led audit. This would include Global Ferronickel’s subsidiary, Platinum Group Metals Corporation.

Bravo said mining companies now have to go through three or more audits every year. Aside from the “objective fact-finding and science-based review” that MICC swore to conduct on mining companies, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also now conducts two separate audits — one that is led by the central office and the other one by the regional office.

This, while local government units (LGU) and host barangays also require mining companies to present annual reports on their operations.

“Government is running out of people,” Bravo said. “Reports on safety, health, and environment are being reported several times.”…