Mankayan mine firm starts FPIC process-A A +A
Sunday, September 23, 2012
FAR SOUTHEAST Gold Resources Inc. (FSGRI) is gearing up for its Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) proceedings for the Mankayan project.
The posting of notices by the NCIP FPIC Team for the process started in town last week. The notices enjoined everyone in the eight affected barangays to participate.
The process is a first for the Mankayan area as previous companies were not required to undergo this proceeding because the Indigenous People’s Rights Act crafted and approved in the 1990s.
FSGRI is eyeing the Far South East Ore Body within the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation claim and needs to get the consent of the community before proceeding with plans of exploration.
FPIC is batting for conversion of the Mineral Process Sharing Agreement (MPSA) into a Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) so the mining firm can continue to explore.
The FTAA is needed by South African mining firm Gold Fields so it can own a majority of shares in FSGRI. Presently, 60 percent of FSGRI is owned by Lepanto while 40 percent is held by Gold Fields.
Only after the FPIC can the company be given a Certificate of Compliance issued by the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) attesting the applicant has complied with the requirements for securing the consent of affected indigenous peoples in the area.
The absence of this certificate is a ground for the issuance of a Writ of Injunction or a Cease and Desist Order from the NCIP.
However, if the FPIC fails for the conversion, exploration may still continue because of the MPSA issued.
In a seminar on the Indigenous People’s rights as well as the mining act, the FSGRI officials assured the company is for responsible mining and it will adhere to the FPIC process.
FSGRI defined responsible mining as not necessarily perfect but constant and conscious caring for the area being utilized as well as its surrounding communities.
Marionne Ruiz, media relations officer of FSGRI, said, “Responsible mining is not exactly being perfect like not making mistakes, totally no accidents but it is more about honoring commitments, delivering what you promised that you will and standing up for the consequences of your actions - good or bad.”
The seminar is a first in a series of workshops for media personnel aiming to educate practitioners in the NCIP proceedings as well as the FPIC process.
Speakers from the DENR engr. Felizardo Gacad and Alfredo Genetiano, as well as NCIP lawyers John Trey Libiran and Severino Lumiqued were present in the two-day seminar to give media an overview of mining and its process in the region.
The NCIP said there will be at least three FPIC processes before the South African Mining firm can start commercial extraction of minerals.
If all goes well, the company can expect to operate for 20 years.
Infrastructure setup and community acceptability will first be established on site, taking NCIP guidelines and the IPRA into action.
After its due diligence stage, FSGRI confirmed the presence of “significant mineralization” in the area.
However, the company has ceased to drill in one of the barangays when Mankayan groups started a picket, which has been ongoing for almost eight months. Losses due to this were set at $3,960 a day.
The NCIP has already issued an order to the picketers to let FSGRI resume drilling peacefully with a direction to FSGRI to pay P500,000 as a commitment bond to answer any adverse effect on the environment caused by the drilling in the area.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 24, 2012.