Gold miner wants to extend exploration in Masapelid
MANILA, Philippines - Gold miner San Manuel Mining Corp. (SMMC) has asked the Office of the Environment Secretary to reverse a Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) decision disallowing further exploration in its contract area after the firm exceeded the maximum exploration period under the law.
"They are now appealing it to Secretary (Ramon Paje). The MGB ruled that the exploration is only up to 10 years. It's a ground for cancellation of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA)," said Leo Jasareno, director of MGB.
The area is situated in Masapelid Island, Surigao del Norte and covers 1,480 hectares.
Granted in January 1991, SMMC's MPSA No. 004-91-X is now on its 21st year, but no ore has been discovered by the firm yet.
Under the rules, the exploration period can only take place within 10 years.
If the government cancels the company's MPSA, this will be bid it out to other investors.
SMMC's area is being claimed by Australian miner Bundok Mineral Resources Corp., which supposedly signed a joint venture deal with SMMC for further exploration activities.
However, in November, Jasareno maintained that BMRC has no legal right over the area because the government did not approve any such agreement between the two companies.
It has been reported that SMMC's petition for the extension of exploration activities is backed by residents of Masapelid Island who want to save their mining jobs. - Rappler.com