THE Benguet Nickel Mines Inc. (BNMI) is set to file a case against the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for illegally suspending BNMI’s nickel mining operations in Sta. Cruz, Zambales, last July 8, 2016. BNMI intends to file a petition for certiorari with Injunction to assail the Suspension Order jointly issued by the concerned MGB, EMB and DENR Regional Offices with grave abuse of discretion, in an arbitrary manner, without due process and ahead of the conduct of a nationwide mining audit.
BNMI is set to prove that despite its full compliance with remediation conditions under the previous lifting order dated August 24, 2015, the said regional government agencies unjustifiably refused to reverse the suspension order.
After careful consideration, BNMI is constrained to take the judicial recourse in order to protect itself, its workers and the affected communities which depend on the corporation for their livelihood and support.
BNMI had earlier exerted earnest efforts to assure the DENR and the anti-mining groups of its continued undertaking to conduct responsible and sustainable mining activities and its willingness to be an active partner of the Government in protecting the environment.
To this end, BNMI reached out to the DENR and the anti-mining groups to present a proposed arrangement that would have ensured that the environment in Sta. Cruz would not only be protected, but would even be improved, through a partnership between the mining corporations, the people and the government. These efforts, however, proved to be unsuccessful, as the anti-mining groups, and even the DENR representatives, rejected BNMI’s fair and reasonable proposal and continue to appear bent on endorsing an unjust arrangement which will deprive the mining companies of any recourse against the results of the audit and, worse, will require them to summarily acknowledge alleged liabilities for compensation and rehabilitation, without immediate prospect of resuming operations.
The unjustifiable suspension of BNMI’s operations is taking its toll not only on the corporation but on its workers, contractors and suppliers, and its scholars and surrounding communities.
BNMI had already been forced to temporarily lay off more than 1,000 workers since its unwarranted suspension.
To avoid irreversible financial damage to its business and ease the hardship on other affected stakeholders, the Company has no choice but to resort to legal action to obtain an equitable resolution to this controversy. It comes to Court with the knowledge that its operations have been, and will continue to be, compliant with national regulatory and international certification standards. It is confident that its operations, once allowed to resume, will not pose any threat to the environment.
BNMI assures the public that it is committed to the rule of law and that it will continue to practice responsible and sustainable mining.