MANILA Dec 16 Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc
, the Philippines' second-largest nickel miner, vowed on
Friday to appeal an "unlawful" government decision to cancel the
environmental permit for its newly acquired Ipilan mining
The company said its Ipilan Nickel Corp (INC) unit has not
violated any law or condition under the permit, and chided the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for
making a decision "without procedural due process".
Concerned at the environmental impact of mining, the world's
top nickel ore supplier has already halted the operation of 10
mines and another 20 face suspension, stoking supply concerns
and spurring a rally in global nickel prices.
The DENR on Thursday announced it had cancelled the
environmental compliance certificates (ECC) of three nickel
mines, including INC's, and that of gold miner United Paragon
Mining Corp, for failure to comply with the conditions
of the permits.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez has
also warned that three more nickel producers were at risk of
losing their ECCs.
Global Ferronickel described as "surprising and unfortunate"
the DENR's announcement of the ECC cancellation, (which the DENR
said was due to INC's failure to launch its Ipilan project
within the 5-year period from the issuance of the permit.
Two DENR agencies - the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and the
Environmental Management Bureau - "could very well attest to the
feasibility studies and work plans that INC have so far embarked
on" to carry out the Ipilan project, the company told the
Philippine Stock Exchange.
"If DENR had only observed the barest minimum of
administrative notice and hearing, it would have readily
appreciated all the time, efforts and resources invested by INC
in launching an important project," it said.
The Ipilan nickel project in southwestern Palawan province
has resources of over 50 million wet metric tonnes at 1.23
percent nickel content, which Global Ferronickel intends to
export to China and Australia.
"INC thus intends to vigorously seek a reconsideration of
this baseless and unlawful cancellation of ECC in due course,"
said Global Ferronickel, which also has mining operation in
southern Surigao del Norte province.
Lopez did not immediately respond to a Reuters' request for
(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Richard Pullin)