Benguet mining firm insists it passed environment audit

MANKAYAN, Benguet – Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation (LCMC), one of the country’s 20 mining companies recommended to suspend its operation, declared there was no reason to do so, insisting it passed the environment audit conducted by the Department of Energy and Natural Resources.

Bryan Yap, President and Chief Operating Officer of the mining giant, said they have not received from the DENR any official communication on said suspension. “We have complied with all relevant laws and regulations and we passed the (environment) audit ordered by the DENR which, in our case, was completed on August 14, 2016,” he said

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has recommended the suspension of the operation of the mining firms following the completion of its audit of mining companies all over the country. Two mining firms in the province, LCMC and Benguet Corporation, were included in the list.

The DENR audit or environment assessment tests include issues on siltation, dust, no tree-cutting permits, and unsystematic mining methods.

At least seven days were given to the affected mining firms to respond to the official order on suspension of their operations, which was announced on the last week of September.

Yap disclosed that since the announcements were made, they have received numerous inquiries and expressions of concern from numerous stakeholders on the status of operations.

“ We have to make this explanatory report to these stakeholders, namely our worried employees, our communities, our stockholders and investors, our retirees, our partners and partner banks and our service and goods providers,” he said.

Established in 1936, LCMC is the country’s primary producer of gold, copper and silver, employing thousands both in the surface and underground operations.

Yap reiterated that Lepanto did more than produce copper, gold and silver. “We helped build Mankayan into a first class municipality as, we have been dutifully paying our taxes for the last 80 years, a good corporate citizen and a caring partner to the community.”

It was learned that Lepanto has a 60% interest in Far Southeast Gold Resources, Inc. which owns the Far Southeast Project, a world-class, high-grade gold and copper porphyry deposit. It is looking to develop the Far Southeast Project through a partnership with Gold Fields Limited of South Africa, one of the biggest gold miners in the world.

Yap stressed that Lepanto will continue to uphold its legacy of responsible mining.. Thom