Xstrata Philippine mine project 'may go to court'

The fate of Xstrata's $5.9 billion copper-gold project in the southern Philippines, which has been delayed by a ban on open-pit mining, may be decided in court, a provincial governor said Saturday.

Arthur Pingoy, governor of South Cotabato province where the project is located, said his government maintained its ban on open-pit mining which effectively bars the Swiss giant's project.

President Benigno Aquino recently issued a mining order saying the national government overruled local ordinances but Pingoy said his ban remained in effect until a court ruled otherwise.

"Probably, this will be taken to the proper court, so we will see if (the company) or the national government will raise it," he told AFP.

The Tampakan project of an Xstrata-led joint venture on the troubled southern island of Mindanao has been delayed for months by South Cotabato's ban on open cast mining.

Pingoy said he was aware of the massive economic benefits of the project but said people in his province were still wary of its environmental impact.

He said both the natural resources and local government ministers were due to meet with him soon and he expected them to bring up the Xstrata project, which was originally due to go into commercial operation in 2016.

Meanwhile, the head of the government Mines and Geosciences Board Leo Jasareno expressed optimism that legal action could be avoided and that South Cotabato officials could be persuaded to lift the ban.

"There are many ways this can be addressed. The national government can talk to the local government, discuss the matter... it can be done through consultation, persuasion," he told AFP.

He said Aquino's new order would provide a guide in settling the dispute.

Jasareno said the Aquino government still considered the mining project, one of the biggest foreign investments in the country's history, to be a "priority".

In a statement, Sagittarius Mines, Inc., the local subsidiary of the Xstrata-led joint venture, said it would study Aquino's new mining order to see how it relates to its mining project.

"We are encouraged that the implementation of this policy should assist in the resolution of the South Cotabato Environment Code which bans open-pit mining in the province contrary to national law," the statement added.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • What can void a new car warranty? James Deakin - Wheel Power
    What can void a new car warranty?

    "I was denied warranty once for changing my horn!" One very annoyed reader wrote. "I was told that placing a backup camera will void my warranty" said another. The others are best left in my private inbox as Yahoo! have a swear jar in the office that I do not feel like donating this week's pay to. Continue reading → …

  • Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources VERA Files - The Inbox
    Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources

    By Kiersnerr Gerwin B. Tacadena, VERA Files “Gutom (hunger),” Sen. Loren Legarda said is what’s in store for the Filipino people if destruction of the country's marine resources is not stopped. Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on Environment and Natural … Continue reading → …

  • ‘Yolanda’ fiberglass boats modern-day Noah’s ark VERA Files - The Inbox
    ‘Yolanda’ fiberglass boats modern-day Noah’s ark

    By Jane Dasal, VERA Files If you want to save the earth, build a boat. That's what a group of environmentalists is saying, especially if you want to save both the forests and fishermen affected by supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). “Haiyan … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options