OceanaGold halted by Didipio revolt
OceanaGold called a trading halt this morning amid claims from the
Philippines suggesting up to 100 locals have set-up barricades along
access roads leading to the Didipio mine and have blocked truck access
since July 1. However, the mine is understood to still be operating.
4 July 2019
Mining Journal sister title MiningNewsNet understands there are
protestors and some temporary ‘boom gates’ along the roads, but they
have not impeded operations at the underground mine. MNN was unable to
verify claims that vehicles are unable to travel to and from the site.
It is not the first time environmental activist alliance, the Kalikasan
People’s Network for the Environment, has made claims about stopping the
KPNE accuses OceanaGold of “environmental and humanitarian crimes”
during Didipio’s development and commercial operations that warrant
shutting down the mine and cancelling the Financial or Technical
Assistance Agreement with the national government that allows it to operate..
The group last week claimed the Nueva Vizcaya provincial government had
issued a restraining order that forced the mine to cease operations, but
at the time OceanaGold said no such order had been issued and that
mining was continuing as normal.
Its initial 25-year FTAA expired earlier this year. Given it started the
renewal process more than nine months ago the mine is operating under a
temporary licence, and the nation’s Department of Environment and
Natural Resources has recommended the permits be renewed.
OceanaGold was recently awarded four Global CSR awards for Didipio at a
ceremony in Malaysia, including for environmental excellence, but the
KPNE claims 80% of Didipio’s residents have problems accessing clean
water, with nearby rivers polluted, local forests affected, and
widespread chemicals management issues, with allegations of “labour,
indigenous, and other human rights” abuses.
“We want OceanaGold to stop operations regardless of whether its FTAA
gets renewed or not,” local Barangay Didipio community councillor Celia
Bahag said in a statement released by KPNE.
KPNE co-ordinator Leon Dulce said the government in Manilla was
“wilfully blind” to the mine’s violations, and denies OceanaGold’s
claims that the law allows it to operate until a final decision is made
on the FTAA, saying the mine is now operating illegally.
“Even if president Rodrigo Duterte decides to sign OceanaGold’s FTAA
renewal, they cannot stop the sovereign will of the people of Nueva
Vizcaya to stop this mine from further destroying the environment and
the rights of future generations,” local activist head Julie Simongo said.
The protestors hope Duterte, who has been outspoken against mining, will
hear its calls and cancel the licence.
KPNE has also protested outside the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in
MNN understands the Canadian-Australian miner aims to make an
announcement this evening.
The Didipio copper-gold mine started life as an open pit in 2013 and
transitioned to underground in 2016.
The underground mine is still ramping up, and produced some 33,600
ounces gold and 3900 tonnes copper in the March quarter at all-in
sustaining costs of A$638/oz.
It is targeting production of between 120,000-130,000oz gold and
14,000-15,000t copper this year at costs between $625-675/oz.
OceanaGold shares last traded at A$4.02, capitalising it at $2.5 billion.