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Chinese to pursue Surigao nickel project

CHINA’S JINCHUAN Group Ltd. has renewed its interest to pursue a proposal to invest as much as $1.5 billion in the rehabilitation of the Nonoc nickel mines in Surigao province, according to an industry official.

Benjamin Philip Romualdez, president of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, told reporters Tuesday that talks between Jinchuan and Philnico Industrial Corp. have started.

Romualdez disclosed that the president of Jinchuan personally told him during the China Asean Mining Forum that aside from the Nonoc nickel mine, the company would likewise pursue other prospective mining projects in the country.

He added that the $1.5 billion was an earlier estimate made by the Chinese firm. This amount included a refinery as well.

Exclusive negotiations between Philnico and Jinchuan bogged down in January 2007 because the prospective Chinese investor insisted on doing another feasibility study.

Philnico president Evaristo M. Narvaez Jr. earlier said that the study would push back the project’s launch by six to 12 months without any assurance of a definitive agreement.

Narvaez earlier noted that when Jinchuan officially terminated negotiations, Philnico received offers from investors from Russia, Japan, Canada and other Chinese mining companies, all of which were in the advanced stages of due-diligence work on the project.

But by May of the same year, Philnico announced that it welcomed the offer of Jinchuan to further improve its previous proposal to invest $1 billion in the rehabilitation of the Nonoc nickel mines.

Located on Nonoc Island off Surigao City, the nickel mine is touted to hold one of the biggest nickel and cobalt resources in Southeast Asia. The Nonoc mine, which has about 60 million metric tons of nickel ore reserves, halted operations in 1982 due to high energy costs.

Philnico is 55-percent owned by Hong-Kong based Compline Resources Co., 30 percent by Australia’s Pacific Energy Ltd. and the rest by local investors. (inquirer)


Anonymous said...

great things are happening in surigao from tuna fishing to surfing to mining, but i don't see any big improvement in surigao, where all those royalty taxes and any other taxes go?

the road networks are topsy turvy or in other words not well planned road networks.

the fire trucks are limited.

even the basic need like water are sometimes dirty and even do not flow on saturdays and sundays.

the prizes of local foods are expensive even fish.

the local government do not encourage livelihood, instead they encourage to acquire loan.

Anonymous said...

What will happen to the environment? We know that mining is one of the most destructive economic activity to the floras and faunas, to the biomes and the environment in general. Look at Nonoc with its barren landscape. Do you want Nonoc to perish from the face of the Earth because it has no more forest cover thus the soil erosion is rampant and massive? And do you like the idea that they will just extract the ore from Nonoc and then ship it out somewhere else carrying with them the piece of land owned by the Philippines and dump it on their territory thus reducing Nonoc's land area and increasing that of China? And don't forget the Marcopper Mining Disaster in 1996 in the province of Marinduque. I don't trust these Chinese investors because I know in my heart that they will just exploit our environment and our resources. You may say I am talking nonsense here but mind you, the time will come and remember my words. I am just really concerned with our province on the environmental aspect!

Anonymous said...

Mining can be beneficial to Surigao if there is transparency and regulation. However in reality there is so much under-the-table business practices in both sides.

Example the foreign investors are avoiding big investment in ore refinery because often the Filipino counterparts and politicians are sabotaging the operations because of greed and corruption.

The new trend is that the ore is shipped to another land and processed there, however the ore contains other precious metals aside from nickel there is copper, gold, iron and aluminum, all of this is unaccounted. Consider this mineral wealth as lost or rather stolen.

If there would be a mining operation there has to be a sustainable plan so when world prices for metals crash, they wont just shut down and leave an environmental disaster and people out of work.

Anonymous said...

if my memory still serves me right, nonoc ore assay test analysis has Chrome quantitatively more than the nickel content it has on top of other minerals and precious metals that can be extracted from the ore itself...what is outlandish and disturbing is we wholeheartedly give these metals as freebies to their hearts content and leave us at the mercy of world price manipulation for refine metals where we have no leverage at all..it is important to know that chrome alloy is the metal of choice for practically all major power transmission and distribution lines and no longer copper...picture all the power grids/lines that NAPOCOR has and and the feeder lines from mid-west US to the west and up and down California!! Surigao will be an economy to reckon with!!!

Anonymous said...

If this mining operation is pursued, then it is like giving out our precious minerals to the foreign investors. They must put up a processing plant here in order to have a one stop shop from extraction to the end product. If they won't do that then no deal. China is trying to trick us here. This is what they are doing in most of the African countries right now. Africa is their number one exporter of oil but for cheaper price and almost already a dole out because knowing the characters of the Chinese, they will bargain to the death. What they're offering to Surigao in exchange for the mining operation, for our mineral deposits is a piece of crap compared to what they will get out of us. This is beside from the fact that they will destroy our environment and for God's sake, please let us not be deceived by their so called "gracious offer". I hope that the government will read between the lines of the Chinese' offer and must protect the interest of the environment and the people of Surigao.

Anonymous said...

I AGREE!! and guess who is/are the facilitators of these negotiations? but our own surigaonons of chinese descent..i don't know, but i heard (actually discussed these in length) them talk and mentioned about it in a speech made by the previous mayor while accorded guest of honor/speaker during the SNA in Las Vegas ('07) in what we would otherwise perceive as a step forward and in the right direction while justifying the long overdue IOU's Nonoc hasn't payed to the city coffers ....in America they have a fancy and nice-to-hear name for it (lobbyist).... while it is indeed very pleasing to everyone's (Surigaonons) ears, the irony is, no expenditure and priority plans are in place as to how and where the money will be spent or used, will it be for city or provincial infrastructures that are in dire need of upgrading or goods and services to the lowly surigaonon that needs better healthcare and housing projects that, realistically speaking, (is)a habitat for humanity to mention a few? i could count with my ten fingers while "on vaction" during our fiesta what needs a well focused priority investment, but it seems nobody cares nor was it given any after-thought or preference... the sense of 'it's not my job' attitude or bahala na sila is the theme...tell me if i'm wrong and you will hear more...

Anonymous said...

I think this issue needs more attention from the media. There are so many concerns, questions and worries from surigaonons. Does anyone know who would write an article on this. This is a chance for all of us for a better surigao if government address our concerns. This minerals belong to all of us Filipinos but instead only a few are getting rich and they don't need it.

Anonymous said...

But what Philippine media would be willing to tackle this $$$en$itive i$$ue? because candidly speaking, these folks will tell you right in your face... either you're with u$ or against u$....in bu$ineSS parlance...you're in our Payroll or your 'head' will Roll!!! isn't that interesting?? i know it is....

Anonymous said...

I just hope the 3 bigwigs of surigao the MATUGAS , will read all your comments. There is no sense and no action will be taken if they dont bother to read it.. we will see.

Anonymous said...

Well... let the blog owner make a link to the city of Surigao website and all other websites about Surigao so everyone and anyone can or will read it, besides, those close to the kitchen, so to speak and wants to be nearer by an elbow's length will for sure make the necessary 'whispering hope' to the big 3 to gain more foothold...

Anonymous said...

Actually Gov. Matugas issued executive order to ban all mining and hauling operation in entire surigao del norte. The problem is hat it was probably not implemented and enforced in places like Dinagat island. Who has the capacity to enforce it there? Basin mapusil iton ato pulis nan mga ecleo goons hinoon.

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