MGB-XI notifies deficiencies of Nadecor-Calalang group in copper-gold exploration application in Pantukan, Comval

mar 12, 2014

1st update

The Mines and Geo-Sciences-XI has recently bared its findings stating eight deficiencies in the application of Nationwide Development Corporation (Nadecor) for copper and gold exploration in gold-rich barangays in Pantukan, Compostela Valley.

The application for the Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (DMPF) of Nadecor under the group of a certain Conrado  Calalang was assessed to have suffered deficiencies, among which are the proof that Calalang is the authorized signatory of Nadecor, environmental compliance certificate (ECC), prior free and informed (PFI) consent of the indigenous people and endorsements of LGUs of five barangays, Sangguniang Bayan of Pantukan and Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Compostela Valley.

The MGB-XI’s letter was dated Feb. 7, 2014, signed by OIC regional director Noel Angeles.

The letter found its way to the legislative council of the municipality.

One municipal councilor who came to have a copy of the letter said on the condition of anonymity that all they wanted is peace and order to reign in the area following the burning of a backhoe owned by the municipal LGU few weeks ago by still unidentified elements.

He said he did not know why the municipal backhoe was deployed in the mining area and as to which competing group Mayor Roberto Yugo is siding with in the present dispute.

The gold-rich areas have been lately disputed by two contesting groups from the same corporation Nadecor- the Conrado Calalang group and Jose Ricafort group, which are locked in corporate and legal struggle that reached in the Supreme Court.

The burning was the latest violent incident following armed skirmish between the hired tenement guards of the two groups last year that resulted to the killing of one belonging to Ricafort’s group.

Three years ago Nadecor started exploring the area as one company backed up by its service provider St. Augustine Gold & Copper Ltd. which has a tie-up with Aurubis Ag, a multinational foreign mining firm.

The exploratory phase accordingly found the areas to be rich of copper and gold resources.

The same requirements had already been complied by erstwhile united Nadecor which were claimed by the Ricafort’s group being the original board of directors.

Calalang’s group earlier set up its own new board of directors that triggered corporate battle.

St. Augustine firm is reportedly backing up the Calalang’s group.

Nadecor has an approved Mineral Production Sharing  Agreement (MPSA) over 1,656 hectares, which attracted St. Augustine firm to make a tie up with Nadecor.

The MPSA covers five barangays- Kingking, Magnaga, Tagdangua, Araibo and Napnanap. The barangays are adjacent to the small scale mining sites that experienced disastrous landslide in 2011.

Environmental groups which barricaded the town’s highway section last year to oppose open-pit mining said that St. Augustine is the local firm put up by a US-based multinational mining firm named Russel Mining and Minerals, Inc.

In separate interview, Nadecor- Calalang group administrative officer NJ Lalong said that “it’s clear that the Nadecor-Calalang won at the Court of Appeals.”

He said that while the case on who would manage Nadecor is on appeal at the Supreme, the Nadecor-Calalang group “continues operating” on its exploratory phase.

He also said that burning of the backhoe has nothing to do with the present conflict.

He said that the equipment was used for road construction project of the municipal government.

On the other hand, the St. Augustine public relations officer MJ Maranion issued a reply through text messages:””SAGCL and Nadecor remain committed to serving the people of Pantukan through its CSR activities, and partnerships and linkages with the local government and civic organizations.”

“We are likewise committed to abide by all the laws and regulations prescribed by the Philippine government, and to submit all the documents needed for the issuance of a permit to operate. As part of this process we are currently reviewing the comments made by the MGB on the initial DMPF that we submitted so that these can be addressed and, if necessary, corrected when we resubmit the document,” she said. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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