Palace orders DENR to review Tampakan appeal on permit
MANILA, Philippines - Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) is hoping to finally obtain a permit for its $5.9-billion Tampakan copper-gold project in South Cotabato after Malacañang ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to review the company's application.
“We look forward to the issuance of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) by the DENR,” SMI, the local partner of Swiss miner Xstrata Plc, said in a statement on Tuesday, February 5.
The Tampakan project pushed back commercial operations to 2019 as it faces regulatory difficulties. The DENR twice denied SMI's ECC application, citing a ban on open-pit mining imposed by the South Cotabato provincial government.
SMI elevated its appeal to the Office of the President.
Communications secretary Ricky Carandang said the OP threw the appeal back to the DENR and ordered the agency to “determine whether Sagittarius complied with all the requirements for an ECC.”
SMI had argued against DENR's decision, saying it complied with all requirements and that the South Cotabato ban was inconsistent with national laws.
“Both the EMB and the Environmental Impact Assessment Review Committee have recommended to Secretary Ramon Paje that SMI be issued an ECC because it has complied with all the requirements needed for the issuance of an ECC,” said the company.
If it pushes through, the Tampakan project will be the single biggest foreign investment in the country, projected to contribute at least 1% to gross domestic product per year of operations. – Rappler.com