Home News Philippine diocese leads legal challenge against Oceanagold mining agreement renewal 

Philippine diocese leads legal challenge against Oceanagold mining agreement renewal 

A Catholic diocese in the northern Philippines led a legal effort to annul the 2021 renewal of the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) granted to OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI).

Joined by local communities and civic organizations, the Diocese of Bayombong filed a Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus in Nueva Vizcaya province, citing violations of constitutional local autonomy and insufficient environmental assessments.

“This renewal is illegal because it did not go through proper and prior consultation. No new environmental impact assessment was conducted,” said Bishop Elmer Mangalinao of Bayombong.

The prelate also reminded the project proponent that the Environment Code of Nueva Vizcaya does not allow open-pit mining.

The petition underscores several legal failures, including the absence of a mandatory Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) and an updated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), as mandated by the Philippine Mining Act and related decrees. 

It also argues that the renewal contradicts the Nueva Vizcaya provincial government’s Environment Code, which prohibits open-pit mining in the Didipio Mine, a regulation that OGPI allegedly continues to breach.

Indigenous leader Eduardo Ananayo of the Didipio Earth-Savers Multipurpose Association criticized the approval of the agreement without proper consultation with the affected communities.

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Ananayo revealed that the mining firm notified them of the FTAA’s renewal while admitting that dialogues with the local community still need to be conducted.

If successful, the legal challenge could lead to the voiding of the addendum and renewal agreement for FTAA No. 001 due to non-compliance with legal requirements. 

It also seeks to compel the Office of the President to cancel the agreement, marking a potential turning point in the governance of environmentally sensitive projects in the Philippines.

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