OceanaGold files for injunction amid local govt dispute

The Didipio accommodation site. Image: OceanaGold

OceanaGold has endeavoured to keep its Didipio operations in the Philippines by filing an injunction against any unauthorised restraint of its operations.

The Governor of Nueva Vizcaya has ordered local government units to restrain any operations of the company following the expiry of OceanaGold’s Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).

FTAA is an agreement between a contractor and the government for the large-scale exploration, development and utilisation of gold, copper, nickel, chromite, lead, zinc and other minerals.

Subsequent to the Governor’s order, a local government unit prevented a large supply truck from accessing the copper-gold site on Monday July 1.

OceanaGold continued mine operations but “proactively” halted truck movements, including copper concentrate, to prevent “the potential for escalation.”

This restriction has not impacted OceanaGold’s supply of copper concentrate for shipment, according to the company. Light vehicles, people and food supplies continued to access the site.

“Authority over the Didipio operation rests with the national government,” OceanaGold said in an ASX statement.

“The local government Code of 1991 (Republic Act No. 7160) does not grant the power or authority to the Provincial Governor or any local government officer to restrain any aspect of the Didipio operation.”

OceanaGold said it had “attempted engagement” with the provincial government to resolve the current position.

“Unfortunately, the company has had to file for an injunction to ensure local government units recognise the legitimacy of Didipio’s continued right to operate and the national government’s legal authority over the operation,” OceanaGold added.

The company had previously denied reports of it suspending operations at Didipio, stating it had a permission from the local regulatory authority, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, to continue operation, pending the renewal of the FTAA.

OceanaGold lodged its FTAA application in March last year. A hearing date is set for Wednesday July 10.

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