Currently viewing Global edition

OceanaGold halted by Didipio revolt

OceanaGold called a trading halt this morning amid claims from the Philippines suggesting up to 100 locals have set-up barricades along access roads leading to the Didipio mine and have blocked truck access since July 1. However, the mine is understood to still be operating.
OceanaGold halted by Didipio revolt OceanaGold halted by Didipio revolt OceanaGold halted by Didipio revolt OceanaGold halted by Didipio revolt OceanaGold halted by Didipio revolt

Protestors at Didipio in the Philippines

Staff reporter

Mining Journal sister title MiningNewsNet understands there are protestors and some temporary ‘boom gates' along the roads, but they have not impeded operations at the underground mine. MNN was unable to verify claims that vehicles are unable to travel to and from the site.
It is not the first time environmental activist alliance, the Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, has made claims about stopping the mine.
KPNE accuses OceanaGold of "environmental and humanitarian crimes" during Didipio's development and commercial operations that warrant shutting down the mine and cancelling the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement with the national government that allows it to operate.
The group last week claimed the Nueva Vizcaya provincial government had issued a restraining order that forced the mine to cease operations, but at the time OceanaGold said no such order had been issued and that mining was continuing as normal. 
Its initial 25-year FTAA expired earlier this year. Given it started the renewal process more than nine months ago the mine is operating under a temporary licence, and the nation's Department of Environment and Natural Resources has recommended the permits be renewed. 
OceanaGold was recently awarded four Global CSR awards for Didipio at a ceremony in Malaysia, including for environmental excellence, but the KPNE claims 80% of Didipio's residents have problems accessing clean water, with nearby rivers polluted, local forests affected, and widespread chemicals management issues, with allegations of "labour, indigenous, and other human rights" abuses. 
"We want OceanaGold to stop operations regardless of whether its FTAA gets renewed or not," local Barangay Didipio community councillor Celia Bahag said in a statement released by KPNE.
KPNE co-ordinator Leon Dulce said the government in Manilla was "wilfully blind" to the mine's violations, and denies OceanaGold's claims that the law allows it to operate until a final decision is made on the FTAA, saying the mine is now operating illegally.
"Even if president Rodrigo Duterte decides to sign OceanaGold's FTAA renewal, they cannot stop the sovereign will of the people of Nueva Vizcaya to stop this mine from further destroying the environment and the rights of future generations," local activist head Julie Simongo said.
The protestors hope Duterte, who has been outspoken against mining, will hear its calls and cancel the licence. 
KPNE has also protested outside the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in recent days. 
MNN understands the Canadian-Australian miner aims to make an announcement this evening.
The Didipio copper-gold mine started life as an open pit in 2013 and transitioned to underground in 2016. 
The underground mine is still ramping up, and produced some 33,600 ounces gold and 3900 tonnes copper in the March quarter at all-in sustaining costs of A$638/oz.
It is targeting production of between 120,000-130,000oz gold and 14,000-15,000t copper this year at costs between $625-675/oz.
OceanaGold shares last traded at A$4.02, capitalising it at $2.5 billion.