Philippines suspends award-winning mine

DESPITE winning multiple environmental awards in the past few months, OceanaGold Corporation’s Didipio mine has again been named by the Philippines government as one of several to be suspended.
Philippines suspends award-winning mine Philippines suspends award-winning mine Philippines suspends award-winning mine Philippines suspends award-winning mine Philippines suspends award-winning mine

Staff Reporter

In a news conference to announce the final results of an audit of the country's mines, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez named Didipio as the subject of a proposed suspension order.
The reason given was "declining agricultural production".
OceanaGold said it was yet to receive any formal notification from the government regarding the proposed suspension, and said operations continued uninterrupted.
The company repeated its earlier stance that the operation was not in any breaches of laws or regulations, and posed no risk to safety, health or the environment.
OceanaGold CEO Mick Wilkes said the company and mine had a strong social licence to operate.
"This decision announced by the DENR Secretary is unjustified nor has any basis in law," he said.
Wilkes said if the company received a suspension order, it had strong legal grounds to have it overturned.
Didipio was the first ISO14001-certified mine in the Philippines has won numerous in-country awards since it started nearly four years ago.
The mine employs more than 1800 people, 98% of which are Filipino nationals.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Paul Hissey said the proposed suspension appeared to be yet another unfortunate example of policy on the fly.
"We find it difficult to reconcile potential claims against OGC on the basis of any environmental or social grounds given our own observance of the company's track record over six to seven years, including the completion of Haile in South Carolina and also continued (and successful) operation of Macraes and Reefton within sensitive areas of New Zealand's South Island," he said.
Hissey said a permanent suspension was unlikely, but investors were likely to apply an additional discount to the valuation of the asset, which he believes accounts for around a quarter of OceanaGold's value.