Mining firm welcomes probe-A A +A
By Bong Garcia
Thursday, March 20, 2014
THE Atro Mining-Vitali Incorporated (Amvi) welcomes the move of the City Council to determine the “legality” of its exploration activities in the village of Vitali, 73 kilometers east of Zamboanga City.
“We look at it as an opportunity for us to present our case and hopefully put all these issues to rest in an atmosphere of healthy discussion towards attaining the common goal,” Amvi Resident Manager Leo Sosa said in a statement Thursday.
Councilor Melchor Rey Sadain, during the City Council’s regular session last Wednesday, moved to convene the august body to support the decision of Mayor Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, as she disapproved Amvi’s application for mayor’s permit.
Councilor Charlie Mariano, however, contended that by convening the City Council as a committee of the whole might usurp some of the functions of the concerned committees.
Mariano was able to prevail after lengthy deliberations and the City Council referred the proposed resolution of Sadain to the committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
City Legal Officer Jesus Carbon was quoted during an interview with a radio station as saying the City Government will enforce the law on Amvi since the company has no business permit from the City Hall.
Carbon reportedly said the exploration activities of Amvi are illegal because of the absence of the permit from the City Government.
Sosa, however, clarified that the permit the company applied for with the City Government was “intended only for the establishment of the company’s office in the city.”
“It is by no means to seek approval from the city for our exploration activities since that function belongs to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) by which the company already has,” Sosa explained.
Sosa added that it does not affect the rights of the Amvi to conduct all exploratory activities in the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) area in the village of Vitali although the firm’s application for mayor’s permit has been denied.
“The power to issue a cease and desist order completely belongs to MGB when it comes to big mining company like AMVI,” Sosa said.
He said they have repeatedly applied for Mayor’s Permit in the past but was continually denied despite an outstanding resolution of “no objection” by the City Council.
He said they welcomed the move both by the City Council and the City Government as “a positive development for company to settle the issue once and for all.”
He said that Amvi has a Mines Operating Agreement with Hard Rock Mineral Trading Inc., which grants exclusive rights to conduct mining operations within the MPSA area.
The MPSA area has a total area of 2,077.3084 hectares located at Sitio Upper Tagpangi, Vitali.
The five satellite areas under the MPSA are Campo Uno, Veronica, Campo Cuatro, Limbong and Aboles.