Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) confirms it has received official notification from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) denying its application for an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the Tampakan Mine Project until issues with the use of open pit mining methods have been resolved with the Provincial Government of South Cotabato.
SMI President Peter Forrestal said SMI was extremely disappointed with the decision.
“SMI intends immediately to file an appeal for a reconsideration of the decision as permitted
under the ECC application process.
“We are concerned this decision was not made on the merits of our Mine Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which fully complies with the requirements of the DENR’s own ECC process and is backed by a world-class environmental impact assessment study.
“Our EIS is one of the most comprehensive environmental impact assessment studies ever undertaken in the Philippines, which was prepared in line with international standards and further strengthened by the feedback gained from a two-year consultation process that involved more than 9,000 stakeholders.
During the 40 day review period of our ECC application by the Environmental Impact Assessment Review Committee, an independent panel of experts established by the DENR’s bEnvironmental Management Bureau, all queries regarding SMI’s EIS and its ECC application
were addressed to the satisfaction of that committee.
The decision to deny SMI’s ECC application on the basis that the open-pit ban in South
Cotabato must be resolved before the national government can issue an ECC is inconsistent
with the DENR’s established procedures for the processing of ECC applications.
“We believe this decision sets a precedent that contradicts the publicly stated views of the
Aquino Administration - namely that national laws which permit open-pit mining methods
should have precedence over conflicting provincial ordinances."
"This lack of consistency by the national government poses a very real threat to investment confidence in the Philippines and introduces significant uncertainty to national government approval processes."
"It also hampers the Project’s potential to make what would be a significant contribution to the economic and social development of Southern Mindanao and the Philippines," Mr Forrestal said.