INTEX Resources has been advised by the Philippines Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) that its Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the Mindoro Nickel Project has been reinstated. Acting on the instructions of the Office of the President, the DENR reinstated the ECC ‘with full legal force, without any new conditions and with validity of four years and 10 months.
Intex advised of the reinstatement on April 9, expressing its relief. The ECC was suspended in November 2009, halting the company’s progress in developing Mindoro Nickel. The company, which has signed an agreement for the project’s sale, says the reinstatement is crucial regardless of which way Mindoro Nickel is developed.
“After a long period of constructive dialogue with various national authorities and governmental bodies, the company is pleased and relieved with this decision. The reinstatement of the ECC clears a major regulatory hurdle in the further development of Mindoro Nickel,” says Intex CEO Henno Grenness.
Chairman Christian L Holst says, “The reinstatement of the ECC is obviously extremely helpful in the strategic processes we have undertaken. Following years of continuous efforts, the reinstatement is a direct consequence of strong teamwork across our renewed organization in the Philippines.”
The project covers around 3000 hectares in the municipality of Victoria in Oriental Mindoro province and about 9000 hectares in Sablayan town in Occidental Mindoro. It is expected to produce 100 to 120 million tonnes of ore over 15 to 20 years.
Government and Church leaders, and environmentalists have vowed to opposed the reinstated ECC. Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso Umali Jr said he was caught by surprise by the action of the DENR, given the strong opposition from the provincial government for Intex’s operation. He believed the ECC could not be a basis for Intex to resume operations since its project had no social acceptability from the community.
In late January 2015 private Filipino company Atra Mining-Vitali Inc and Intex entered into due diligence and reiterated their strong commitment to the sale of the project, which, if successful, will see Intex receive US$5 million in cash plus a free carried ownership of 8%.
With the strong commitment of its international principal, the Bashundhara Group, Atro also stated its high confidence in bringing the project forward and into completion in the coming years.
The due diligence is expected to take no longer than three months, with the addition of one month to finalize all definitive agreements needed to close the transaction.