THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued a cease-and-desist order against the Altai Philippines Mining Corp. (APMC) following an alleged breach of environmental regulations at its nickel exploration site in Romblon.
The joint order issued by the DENR office in the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) region on Monday also suspends the ore transport permit of APMC, which has attracted protestors to its mine site.
The department also rejected the company’s application of Miscellaneous Lease Agreement citing violations of Commonwealth Act 141 or the Public Land Act.
The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Romblon will also file “appropriate legal action” over the cutting of trees without a permit at the company’s site on Sibuyan island.
An inspection by the DENR Environmental Management Bureau in Mimaropa last week resulted in a notice of violation against the company and a suspension of mining operations.
Rodney R. Galicha, executive director of Living Laudato Si’, told BusinessWorld in a virtual interview that protesters picketing the site have determined not to leave their barricades until the company’s exploration permit and mineral production sharing agreement are revoked.
The suspension “will not weaken our resolve to stay on the barricades,” Mr. Galicha said.
The AMPC voluntarily halted exploration activity on Monday “to address any concerns or issues that have been raised.”
In an e-mail to BusinessWorld on Tuesday, APMC had no response to the suspension order but said it was legally permitted to conduct its activities.
“We will be answering the notices in the proper forum, specifically with the regulators, in a technical conference regarding the matter. We submit ourselves to the authority of the concerned regulators and welcome dialogue and/or due process,” Lee Altamirano of APMC Corporate Communications Department said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera