1. “Mindoro Nickel violates a 25-year moratorium against mining issued by the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro.” The Provincial Board of Oriental Mindoro issued on January 2002 an ordinance declaring a 25-year moratorium on all forms of mining. This moratorium is in conflict with national laws as expressed in resolutions, opinions, memoranda, and letters issued by the: Department of Interior & Local Government (click link to documents: Opinion No. 39, Series of 2002, and Memorandum Circular 2012-181) Department of Justice or DOJ (click link to documents: Opinion No. 8, Series of 2005, and Opinion upholding DILG Memorandum Circular 2012-181) Department of Environment and Natural Resources or DENR (clink link to documents: Opinion of May 20, 1999 on the query of Hon. Demetrio Sonza, and Opinion of October 8, 2008 on the Agusan Petroleum FTAA) Minerals Development Council or MDC, through is Executive Director (click link to document: Memorandum of March 31, 2009) The MDC Memo cited the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, which states that “it is the DENR who is responsible for the proper use of the State’s mineral resources”; The Memo also cited the 2005 DOJ Opinion, which states that “freedom to exercise contrary views does not mean that local governmental units may actually enact ordinances that go against law duly enacted by the Congress, such as the Mining Act. “LGU ordinances and resolutions cannot undo the legislations promulgated by Congress,”the memo stressed. 2.  “The Municipality of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro has passed a resolution declaring a 25-year moratorium on Large Scale  Mining” The Sablayan municipal council in Occidental Mindoro passed the moratorium on December 10, 2007 but was not endorsed by the Provincial Board of Occidental Mindoro. This moratorium is invalid, following the MDC Memo of March 31, 2009. (click link to document: Memorandum of March 31, 2009) 3. “Mindoro Nickel poses a risk for Mindoro’s rice production.” The claim is apparently based on the concern that the mine will affect the amount or quality of water for local irrigation use.  On Water Supply The catchment areas for water in Occidental Mindoro will not be affected by the project.  The project is located entirely on the eastern side of the water divide that separates the lowlands of Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro. The planned mining activities – involving phased activities of 100 hectares per year, immediately followed by rehabilitation and reforestation – will not have any measurable consequences on the supply of water to rice fields in both Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro. Some 60% of the rice production in Oriental Mindoro is said to come from the municipalities of Calapan, Victoria and Naujan.  These areas are provided with surface water from the following rivers: Mag-Asawang Tubig, Pangalaan, Bucayao and Baco.   These rivers have their headwaters in the mountain ridge of central Mindoro.  The collective catchment for these rivers is approximately 192,000 hectares.  Out of this area, about 33,000 hectares (or 17% of the total collective catchment) Is the source of water for the southern Mag-Asawang Tubig and Pangalaan rivers that, in turn, supplies water to the rice fields of Victoria and the southern half of Naujan.  Rice fields in other parts of Naujan and the entire Calapan  are primarily sourced from the northern Bucayao and Baco river systems – both of which are entirely outside the project area. The MNP tenement measures 11,300 hectares.  Of this, only about 5,000 hectares will be the final area of the tenement.  Only about 3,500 hectares – approximately one-third of the property – is underlain by mineable laterite. About 1,900 hectares – just over half of the 3,500-hectare mineable area – will provide resources for over 20 years’ production. Actual mine plans consider using about 100 hectares per year, followed by rehabilitation and reforestation in a sequential manner. The mining of 100 hectares makes up about 0.05% of the catchment area for Mag-Asawang Tubig.  The planned mining activities, therefore, will not have any measurable consequences for the supply of water to rice fields in neither Occidental nor Oriental Mindoro. On Water Quality All areas affected by mining operations will be equipped with settling and polishing ponds to prevent silt to escape into the natural waterways.  Streams that pass through or lead into mine areas will be diverted to avoid excess water entering into these streams and mixing with active mine areas. Following regulatory demands, all efforts will be taken to avoid escape of silt from active mine areas. No toxic chemicals will be released to the environment. No explosives will be used before, during and after the mining operation. Comprehensive rehabilitation and reforestation programs will be undertaken to prevent erosion. 4. “Mindoro Nickel will damage the possibility of sustainable food production in the foreseeable future; MN threatens the  food security and ecological integrity of Oriental Mindoro” A number of operational initiatives and mitigating measures will prevent any unwanted effects of minerals development on the surrounding environment, particularly on farming and fishing in particular. These initiatives are in accordance with the law and clearly described in the company’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The mine site is located in a secondary forest terrain where regular agricultural activities are minimal or absent. No rice fields will be used either for mining or processing facilities. The operation will be focused on obtaining soils that are rich in nickel and cobalt and are near the surface  -- the uppermost 5 to 15 meters of the local soil profile. The mineralized soils will be excavated and transported to a processing plant where nickel and cobalt will be extracted.  The mining operation will affect an area of only 100 hectares per year.  The operation will not use chemicals or explosives.  Sediment and drainage control measures will be installed in actively disturbed areas.  After operation, the terrain will be reshaped to improve slope stability.  To minimize erosion, the local drainage will be restored before the area is replanted with natural forest species. The proposed plant site will occupy the slopes of a local hill near Pola.  About 60% of the planned 200-hectare footprint will be vegetated with coconut. The residual materials after processing will be stored in a stabilized depository in a valley, away from the surrounding land. Intex’s Livelihood Enhancement through Agro-Forestry (LEAF) program is the company’s proactive approach to ensure sustainable food production while at the same time responding to the government’s call for a nationwide effort to plant trees.  This project is designed to encourage local farmers to better utilize their land and provide sustainable income, growing over time as successively more crops reach harvesting age. Launched in late 2011, LEAF is now in full progress with some 200,000 plants under propagation. 5. “Mindoro Nickel will damage Mindoro’s watersheds.” The guidelines for watershed management and development in the Philippines published by the DENR recognizes that mining and quarrying activities can make a significant contribution to economic development.  Thus, it is unrealistic to expect to exclude mining activities from all watersheds.  Mining and quarrying are viable economic watershed uses provided that a full environmental impact assessment has been done and a detailed mitigation and monitoring plan is strictly implemented.  Mindoro Nickel will undertake forest management and soil erosion control measures to prevent excessive siltation of watershed areas and flooding in Mindoro. Mindoro Nickel’s plans are consistent with the preservation of the remaining biodiversity, scenic landscapes, and protection of key water sources.  The identified mineral resource constitutes only about 1/3 of the mine license area In turn, the mine license area constitutes less than 1/3 of the total catchment area of Mag-Asawang Tubig water system Mag-Asawang Tubig, for its part, forms only about 1/3 of the total water catchments for Oriental Mindoro.  The total mineral deposits make up 11% of the entire Mag-Asawang Tubig catchment area and will take over 40 years to mine.  Active, annual mining operations will expose only 0.05% of the Mag-Asawang Tubig watershed.  The project area has no connection whatsoever to natural watersheds of Occidental Mindoro. Mindoro’s watersheds will not be affected by Mindoro Nickel’s activities.  During the operational stage, the activities will be limited only – at any one time – to an area equivalent to a mere 1% of the project’s total tenement area (about 100 hectares per year out of  the total 11,300 hectares). Known as “sequential mining”, this approach serves to provide better management of mineral resources extraction and of the continued protection of the environment. Mindoro Nickel will fully comply with the provisions of the Mining Act on the protection and preservation of affected forests and watersheds.  Mindoro Nickel will implement an Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP) that will be funded annually by at least 3%-5% of direct mining and milling costs. There are 126 proclaimed and protected watershed areas in the Philippines. The area where mining activities of Mindoro Nickel will be carried out is not among these. 6.  “Mindoro Nickel will destroy the last remaining natural forest in Mindoro” The current forest growth in the mine area is mostly secondary and tertiary growth forest following intense and partially unregulated logging in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Since no replanting was conducted after the logging, the current forest growth is highly degraded. The mining operation will involve near-surface excavation work that will be limited  to 100 hectares per year, to be immediately followed by replanting. The replanting program will include the reconstruction of the original forest environment, based on information gathered by scientists from the University of the Philippines - Los Baños Foundation, which has studied the local, endemic flora and fauna. Contrary to claims, the project will conduct a systematic rehabilitation of all mined areas aimed at regenerating the natural forest to its former status.  Mindoro Nickel’s operations will result in better quality forest growth in the rehabilitated and regulated terrain. 7. “Rehabilitation of mined-out areas through tree planting is impossible.” Rehabilitation of mined out areas through tree planting is possible.  There are many examples of successful reforestation in mined-out laterite areas, such as Berong and Taganito mines in Palawan and Surigao del Norte, respectively.  These mining companies have practiced reforestation in laterite mine areas for many years with very satisfactory results.  The laterite ore in Mindoro Nickel’s proposed project site, in contrast to ores found in many other mine sites in the Philippines, does not contain sulphides.  Laterite ore is a naturally occurring, oxidized laterite soil. Mindoro Nickel’s rehabilitation program includes (1) reshaping of mined out areas; (2) depositing of top soil on mined-out areas; and, (3) replanting with indigenous plants selected to recreate the original biodiversity.  A critical issue is the utilization of indigenous plant groups that are tolerant to the characteristics of the local soil and climate. The biodiversity inventory conducted by scientists from the University of the Philippines in Los Banos Tropical Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability (UPLB- TREES) as part of a bigger environmental management study will serve as reference in the restoration and replanting of natural forest species and wildlife sanctuaries after the cessation of operations in mining areas.  These activities will facilitate the recolonization and reconstruction of a full natural biosphere. 8. “Mindoro Nickel threatens the “extremely rich biodiversity of the province” This concern incorrectly assumes that the mining operations will affect large pristine areas and reduce the natural habitat for wild animals or the natural vegetation. Currently the mine area is occupied by secondary and tertiary growth forest following intense logging some 40 years ago. Although the area where the presence of nickel and cobalt have been established covers over 11,000 hectares, mining activities will affect only about 100 hectares at any given time.  These areas will be rehabilitated immediately following completion, while operations move to a subsequent block. The rehabilitated areas will – in addition to getting a diverse forest culture from the post-mining forestation program – also include small lakes and stabilized stream channels that will provide sanctuaries for the gradual reintroduction of a sustainable wildlife.  The mine plan includes the establishment of a buffer zone from the bank of live rivers and creeks to act as forest protection zone. All land use will be temporary and will not reduce biodiversity, but rather provide improved and sustainable conditions for growth of local biodiversity after use, in contrast to the current status with unstable and poorly vegetated terrain left over from the logging period. 9. “The mining site is ’an extremely high conservation priority area for plants and birds and terrestrial animals’ - extremely high terrestrial and inland water areas of biological importance” Mindoro Nickel commits that the rehabilitated mine area will be better than it was before the start of mining operations. The environmental baseline study in the mine site was conducted for over two years.  The study – which included mapping of local flora and fauna, as well as sampling and analysis of water and soil samples – has provided an insight and detailed database of the current environmental status of the mineralized area and the proposed plant site. The mining plan includes a comprehensive rehabilitation program that will bring about significant improvements to the local terrestrial environment and conditions for sustaining its biodiversity. The rehabilitation initiatives will include: Slope stabilization and erosion control Re-soiling of the slope surfaces Systematic restoration of the native flora and fauna by planting of cover crops like centrozema and other identified native species as nurse crops propagation and protection of the forest Species successions to allow natural regeneration of indigenous forest species in the area will allow in- migration of endemic wildlife species to the fully restored mined-out area 10. “Mining will destroy Mindoro’s agro-tourism.” This is not true.  Mining activities will involve a limited area per year followed by immediate replanting.  As such, activities will not generate permanent or large scars in the natural terrain.  Moreover, the mine site is located in the eastern foothills of the central Mindoro mountain ridge.  The area is located partly behind a small mountainous area between Lake Naujan and the central mountains and is, therefore, is only visible from few places. Mining activities will not release unacceptable compounds in the natural waterways, but rather through a series of settling ponds that will clear runoff water from active operation areas before release into the higher order streams. All runoff from higher locations will be diverted around active mine areas to avoid erosion.These measures will ensure that mining activities do not result in unwanted esthetical or environmental effects. 11. “Mining will destroy remaining lowland forests in Occidental Mindoro” This is not true.  The proposed mine area is located entirely on the eastern side of the water divide along the crest of the central mountains of Mindoro.  All mining activities and ore transport will occur on the eastern side of this divide.  Therefore, no amount of material or runoff water from the proposed mine site will enter the lowland forest areas of Occidental Mindoro. 12. “The project has no support in Mindoro” This is not true.  Petitions gathered from mine education and information campaign activities in all stakeholder barangays and municipalities show an overwhelming majority of ordinary people in direct impact communities support the project. 13.  “Mining will displace many Mangyans from their ancestral lands.” This is not true.  The identified laterite ore is mostly located on elevated plateaus, and far from the rivers where most indigenous people (IP) prefer to live.  Very few families, if any, will be required to temporarily relocate during operations.The conditions for relocation of IP families using and living in the license area during operation are discussed at length with these families. The details of their relocation  are agreed upon and indicated in a Memorandum of Agreement, which include terms and conditions for their compensation. Mangyans are nomadic people who migrate within their ancestral areas and often move from one place to another. The mine activities will affect only a limited area every year.  After use, the area will be immediately rehabilitated and returned to the owner as required in the MOA and laws governing mining.Thus, no Mangyan will be required to leave their ancestral land. The mining will, on the other hand, provide numerous employment opportunities and sources of substantial additional income for the affected Mangyan communities, through royalty payments and other support initiatives as defined in the MOA. 14. “Mining will aggravate Mindoro’s flooding problems.” This is not true.  Mining is not the cause of the flooding in Mindoro; Mindoro Nickel will not aggravate this problem.  Rather, the project could help diminish flooding in Mindoro through the regulation of local streams during and after mine operations. The current flooding problem in the Mindoro provinces is borne by natural causes. When high rainfall in the immature terrain causes frequent landslides in the steep mountain slopes (with or without forest growth), the landslide debris is flushed to the foothills.  A sudden drop in flow rate causes the sand and other debris to be deposited.  Over time this debris and silt fill the natural riverbed and new stream channels will form or water will stem up and cause flooding. Regulation – through building of levees and excavation of new river outlets where sea deltas have developed – can be implemented to mitigate the flooding risks over time.  This will, however, require substantial costs, which the local government units of Mindoro will find difficulty raising on the basis of their current revenues.  Revenues that will accrue to the LGUs from Mindoro Nickel will enable the LGUs to build infrastructure projects that will mitigate flooding.  15. “Who will benefit from Mindoro Nickel: Mindoreños or Intex Resources?” This concern possibly reflect the view that many mining operations in the past, and in many parts of the world – including the Philippines – often primarily provided indirect support to local community development, or even ignored these.  In many cases, community support in the past was limited to local employment and some casual supply functions.In contrast, regulatory requirements today require that mining projects provide – in addition to employment opportunities – funds for local community development and skills training.  Also, the project is a contractual partnership with the national government, which provides the terms and conditions for the revenue returns to the national and local governments. Mindoro Nickel has declared its intent to: establish its main offices and headquarters in Mindoro import and export directly to Mindoro use Mindoro financial institutions for its operational needs Mindoro Nickel will provide an unsurpassed opportunity for both Provinces of Mindoro for substantial economic boost, for employment opportunities through direct and indirect means, and for industrial development that has eluded the island and its people. 16. “The processing plant poses a host of environmental hazards” This is not true.  The processing plant of Mindoro Nickel has been designed to meet environmental standards set by the DENR and other criteria set by international institutions.  The plant will utilize a proven and tested hydrometallurgical technology and platform similar to what Coral Bay is utilizing for its nickel mine and processing plant in Palawan. Coral Bay has been operating its processing plant for about a decade now and there have been neither issues nor untoward incidents at all. Marine life and corals in the areas surrounding the project remain unaffected by the mining operations. Coral Bay’s reforestation program is in place and the project’s mangrove protection is also working well.  Mindoro Nickel will be using the same process technology as Coral Bay.  Mindoro Nickel, however, will use improved technical and environmental standards that are available for its facilities. 17. “The use of sulphuric acid poses an industrial risk.” This is not true.  Unlike Coral Bay’s plant in Palawan, Mindoro Nickel will not buy sulfuric acid but will produce its own sulfuric acid when needed.  This will minimize environmental risk in transport. Mindoro Nickel will use raw sulfur prills, a by-product of the oil industry, and burn this to produce a gas that will be mixed with water to form sulfuric acid.  This process will be exothermic – a process or reaction that releases energy in the form of heat.  This will generate entirely carbon-free electrical power that is needed for the processing plant, with some 20 megawatts of excess power than can potentially be connected to the local grid. By producing its own acid from native sulfur prills, Mindoro Nickel will minimize the possibility of contaminating ground water or destroying anything around. Native sulfur does not dissolve in water and remains stable in open atmosphere 18. “The processing plant will be producing tons and tons of hazardous waste.” This is not true.  The residue that will come from the processing plant will not be hazardous to humans or animals.  The process residue will be a thick slurry or paste, which will contain 20-40% water – very rich in iron and  containing some magnesium, calcium, manganese, silica, aluminum and small amounts of residual sulfates.  The high iron content makes the residue a potential source of iron ore. The technology available for processing this material, however, is not yet considered economically viable. The residue will be treated and the residual acid thoroughly neutralized before the materials are transferred and placed in what is called a residue storage facility. Treatment of the residue will be through the use of lime, which will neutralize residual acidity and convert it to a benign solid paste.  19. “Waste material from the processing plant poses an environmental risk as it contaminates ground water or water tables that are used for irrigation or for drinking.” This is not true. The solid residue will be stored in a containment facility whose bottom will be lined with impervious materials such as linings and /or layers of clay.  The impervious materials will make it impossible for the residue and any residual liquid to come into contact with surrounding ground water. The chemical composition of the effluents will meet regulatory environmental threshold values.  It will be monitored both before and after deposition.  When the solidified residue is sufficiently dry, a layer of top soil will be added, making the residue productive for re-vegetation. Approximately 60% of the process water (sea water) will be recycled for repeat use in the processing plant.  The balance will be safely discharged into the ocean, since it will have a chemical composition that will approximate seawater.  Discharge into the ocean will be governed by environmental effluent standards that even prescribe the temperature.  20. “Mining will make Mindoro the next version of Marcopper.” So untrue.  The unfortunate disaster of Marcopper in Marinduque cannot happen in Mindoro because the systems and procedures of Marcopper and Mindoro Nickel are fundamentally different. First.  Marcopper was a porphyry copper mine that was operated as an open pit mine with a required drain tunnel.  The collapse of Marcopper’s   drain tunnel was the principal reason for the incident in Marinduque.   On the other hand, Mindoro Nickel is based on laterite ore, mined sequentially in a surface operation that will not require a drain tunnel.  In this mining operation the natural contours of the tenement areas will largely remain unchanged. Second.  Marcopper stored its mine tailings in a large mined-out pit, whose drain tunnel unfortunately failed.  Mindoro Nickel, for its part, will store its process residues in a carefully engineered residue storage facility ( RSF) that will be constructed to highest international engineering standards.  Unlike Marcopper’s mined out pit, the RSF will not have a drain tunnel. Third.  Porphyry-copper and nickel-laterite ores are profoundly different.  Copper ores contain sulphides, which are acid generating. Laterite ores are also called oxide ore, which do not contain any sulphides to cause acid rock drainage. Fourth: The mining of porphyry-copper and of nickel-laterite ores use different methods.  The copper ore is typically mined in deep open pits whereas laterite ore only occur near the surface, and calls for contour surface mining.  In the latter method, progressive rehabilitation and replanting are possible. Fifth.  Copper and nickel are processed differently.  Copper processing in Marcopper utilized a conventional milling and mineral flotation plant that produces a copper concentrate that was treated in a smelter.  Mindoro Nickel will use a hydrometallurgical processing method that will allow the products to be refined to nickel metal. Sixth.  The exposed, mined-out areas of Marcopper were susceptible to acid generation because of dissemination of sulphides in the adjacent   rocks.  This cannot happen in Mindoro Nickel because the natural nickel-laterite soil does not contain any acid-generating sulphides, only oxides. 21. “The 200-meter dam that Mindoro Nickel will construct for its Residue Storage Facility poses a safety risk to the residents of Mindoro.” This is not true.  The dam will be engineered and constructed to withstand earthquakes that could occur in Mindoro.  Whether the dam will be 20 or 200 meters, it will be engineered to the highest available standards.  A key factor for its stability is to make the base of the dam bigger than its height.  The engineering firm that Intex contracted to prepare the preliminary design of the dam is also the builder of several dams in Chile that withstood a recent Intensity 8.8 earthquake. By way of comparison, the pyramids – one of the world’s construction wonders that has withstood the test of time – have bases that are twice as large as their height or a ratio of 2:1.  Mindoro Nickel’s dam will have a base-to-height ratio of at least 4:1 22. “There are hardly any communities which have benefitted from mining.” Baguio City is a good example of a community that prospered and benefitted from mining.  Most of the mines surrounding Baguio are no longer operating yet the city continues to thrive and remains one of the Philippines’ major tourist spots. Worldwide, there are numerous examples of cities and countries that were established on mining.  Today, they continue without mining, but are now thriving cultural and business centers. Kuala Lumpur, for instance, used to be a tin mine.  Today, Kuala Lumpur is one of the world’s major cities.  With its recent facelift, there is little to remind the present generation of Kuala Lumpur’s past.  Other prominent cities of mining include Sudbury in Canada, Johannesburg of South Africa, Essen-Dusseldorf-Dortmund in Germany, and many more. Canada, Sweden and Germany are examples of countries which owe a large part of their current status, industrial development and wealth to mining. 23. Mindoro Nickel’s first MPSA title was cancelled in 2001 The project’s first MPSA was cancelled by then DENR Secretary H. Alvarez because of claims that: (1) the project is in a protected watershed requiring the protection of the DENR; (2) the concerned local government units oppose the mining project; (3) there were no valid written agreements with the indigenous peoples in the area; (4) the mining project is not economically feasible as per findings of the MGB; (5) the MPSA is traversed by two earthquake faults; (6) Aglubang Mining Corp. has committed a substantial breach of the MPSA by failing to file a Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility. All of these claims were re-investigated by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).  In its report, MGB found that there were no breaches in the terms of the MPSA contract and that the company had complied with all requirements.  The MPSA was reinstated in its original form by the Office of the President in 2004 with a note that the Sec. Alvarez had acted incorrectly when he cancelled the MPSA without due process.
Intex Resources Philippines Inc. 2014