MGB gives go signal to FCF, vows for responsible mining
By: Lyndee Rose S. Basilio
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. II has already allowed FCF Minerals Corporation, a British-owned mining firm in Runruno, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya to start its commercial operation.
MGB Regional Director Mario A. Ancheta said that he approved the commencement of commercial production of FCF gold-molybdenum project.
The Regional Director said that the company has initially set their intent for commercial operation earlier of 2016, but has to be delayed to ensure their compliance on mining standards.
During the first quarter of 2009, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) endorsed to then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo the application for large-scale mine operation of FCF Minerals.
In March 2009, then DENR Secretary Jose L. Atienza Jr. endorsed the conversion of the exploration permit into a Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA). The agreement has a term of 25 years and renewable for another term not exceeding 25 years.
An FTAA contract granted the company the exclusive rights to explore, mine, utilize, and transport the mineral products from the contract area. The FTAA of FCF was signed on Sept. 19, 2009.
“Series of exploration activities were conducted by the company. FCF Minerals has also filed in MGB Region II their application for Sworn Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (DMPF) with complete mandatory requirements. After conducting our initial evaluation, we endorsed said application to our central office for further review,” Ancheta said.
Last October 18, 2011, DENR approved their DMPF that costs $700 million. After the approval of their DMPF, the company has started its development stage. FCF has already spent $ 149 million for its construction and development stage, aside from other projects committed by the mining company as part of their Community Development Program (CDP).
“FCF submitted their Declaration of Commencement of Commercial Operations (DCCO) in September 2016, but we needed to conduct validation and wait for the results of its debugging (test run),” Ancheta said.
MGB Region II issued a partial suspension on its construction works particularly on its Residual Storage Impoundment (RSI) after it was being damaged by Typhoon Lando in 2015.
“We cannot allow mining companies in Cagayan Valley region to continue for lack of compliance in congruent on our existing laws and regulations in mining,” he added.
RD Ancheta said that the company has already complied the demand of the bureau to present a rehabilitation plan on its RSI and a clean-up plan on its Malilibeg dumpsite.
After the conduct of series of verification and validation, the bureau lifted the suspension on April 2015.
“We lifted the suspension for rehabilitation purposes with corresponding conditions that are part of the lifting order,” the regional director stated.
FCF Minerals begins its mining operations after more than a decade of exploration and development. The company’s DCCO was signed last Monday, July 17, 2017.
Based on the Feasibility Study of the company, it confirms the viability of the project that intends to extract an average of 96,700 ounces of gold per annum within 10 years of mine life.
On the other hand, Runruno Operations Manager, Peter Storey assured the various stakeholders of their full cooperation to comply on mining laws and environmental regulations.
In his interview with Philippine Information Agency, Storey said that the company is committed to take the major steps to transform the previous negative stigma of mining into positive undertaking through its compliance to responsible mining standards.
“It is committed to the effective stewardship, protection, and enhancement of the resource endowments in and around the areas where it operates, and conducts its business in a manner which will continuously uphold human development and dignity,” the Runruo operations manager said.
FCF Minerals Corporation is the second large-scale mine in the Cagayan Valley region. The other mining firm, OceanaGold Philippines Incorporated, an Australian mining firm with gold-copper project is located in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino provinces that started its commercial operations in 2013.