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Miners scramble to help govt

DESPITE the crisis it is facing due to the disputed closure of 23 mines, mining companies on Saturday pooled their resources, activated emergency rescue teams and dispatched them to Surigao City after it was struck by a 6.7-magnitude earthquake Friday evening. 

Chamber of Mines of the Philippines chairman Art Disini said relief goods are already being prepared by the mining firms to be distributed to the affected residents while mine workers professionally trained in rescue missions will be at hand to help government operations. 

Among the companies in the area, Nickel Asia Corp. reported that no mine worker or resident in their host communities perished or were hurt during the earthquake. It also reported zero damage to its facilities.

Another nickel miner Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. has also dispatched its 10-man emergency rescue team to Surigao City to help in rescue operations.

CTP Construction chief executive Carlo Pimentel said their mine workers and residents in host communities are safe but it is still assessing its facilities.

Emergency response teams from CTP are already on standby and are coordinating with the Bureau of Fire Protection and partner government agencies to see how the company could ably assist in post disaster efforts.

DENR Secretary Regina Lopez

According to Pimentel, CTP will see to providing immediate needs such as temporary shelters and clean water.

He assured that mining companies in Surigao are working hand in hand to help our kababayans in need.

Meanwhile, Silangan Mining also reported no major damage or injuries to Silangan facilities and personnel. Their emergency rescue teams are on standby in case needed.

Meanwhile, Philippine Stock Exchange president Hans Sicat said Friday the Department of Environment and Natural Resources should be more cautious in its regulatory actions, following the closure of 23 mines in the country that could affect 1.5 million Filipinos.

At a press conference of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taguig City, Sicat tagged the announcement of DENR Secretary Regina Paz Lopez of closure and suspension of 28 mining firms as “worrisome trend” and “very irresponsible move.”

“What we saw last week, we believe that there was a surprise announcement in media of a suspension, closure of mining firms including those companies that are publicly listed. We thought this is actually a worrisome trend, if not, a very irresponsible move from the DENR,” the PSE chief said.

“This creates a huge issue for those operating the stock exchange,” he added.

Sicat mentioned that the announcement of the DENR has created confusion in the market, while global prices of nickel have increased by 7.0 to 8.0 percent when the result came out.

“It’s interesting that an announcement from a particular agency can move global prices,” he said, noting the importance of consistency in government policies. 

“It’s not something we want to project to global investors. We always talk about consistency of policy consistency of execution,” Sicat said.

“Surprise announcements like this, which do not synch or align with the overall economic plan of the economy, makes you wonder whether or not the policymakers have an angle on essentially on the game plan, or you have a situation where particular individual or groups of individuals have hijacked a well-thought economic plan,” the PSE chief said. 

Topics: Secretary Regina Paz Lopez , Chamber of Mines of the Philippines , Art Disini , Mining companies
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