MANILA -Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC) is calling for the “swift withdrawal” of the cease and desist order issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) which halted its mining operations in Palawan.
In a statement, parent company Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. said INC had expressed “deep concern” over the recent turn of events as part of its efforts to resolve issues such as royalty payments.
As a reminder, the NCIP regional office in Mimaropa issued the stop order to Celestial Nickel Mining Exploration Corp. (CNMEC) and INC for allegedly failing to obtain a Certification Prerequisite (CP) and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
The entities were given five days to “terminate the operation” and “install security protocols so as not to endanger the community”. NCIP said the order would remain in effect until the two make the necessary submissions.
NCIP said mining companies must obtain certifications and pay a royalty since the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) signed in 2000 “is already within the scope” of Philippine mining law and Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).
But INC said he was exempt due to a pre-existing MPSA. He cited separate letters from NCIP to the Bureau of Mines and Geosciences and CNMEC which stated that CP was no longer needed since CNMEC, INC’s predecessor, signed an agreement in 1993 or four years before. enactment of the IPRA in 1997.
“The IPRA and its Implementing Rules provide that existing contracts for the exploitation of natural resources in the ancestral domain continue until they expire,” the INC said.
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