Small miner gets Court go-ahead

24 April 2013

The Zambales Regional Trial Court has junked the petition for injunction of a large mining company to stop a small-scale miner to gather and export the firm's alleged chromite stockpile in Masinloc in Zambales.

Branch 71Judge Consuelo Amog-Bocar, in a seven-page decision, dropped the petition filed by Consolidated Mines Inc. (CMI), represented by its Assistant Unit Manager Felizardo Clark, to prevent Camilo Esico to haul chromite from an alleged stockpile in the CMI Coto mine site.

"Wherefore, premises considered, the prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is hereby denied for lack of merit," her order read.

The judge took into account that the CMI's mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) had already expired on January 11, 2011, and that its application for a renewal of another MPSA was not a guarantee for CMI to exercise its right over the alleged stockpile of chromite wastes or tailings at Coto mine site, particularly at Towers 8 and 9 not covered by its previous contract area.

"As regards to whether Esico violated CMI's right when he hauled chromites from Towers 8 and 9, the answer is no," she said.

Esico was allowed to operate by virtue of a small-scale mining permit valid until September 3, 2012 duly issued by the provincial government, she added.

Amog-Bocar said the subject of the injunction relief filed by CMI was the alleged stockpile of chromite considered as wastes or tailings at Towers 8 and 9, areas not covered under CMI's MPSA.

CMI allegedly dumped their chromite tailings outside its Coto mine site, prompting the Zambales provincial government to issue Esico and five other small-time miners the necessary permits to gather the wastes left behind by CMI.

The court said it was clear that CMI had no legal jurisdiction over the disputed stockpile of mineral wastes.