Suspended Philippine nickel miner mounts first legal challenge to govt crackdown – by Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters India – October 26, 2016)

MANILA – A suspended Philippine nickel miner said on Wednesday it has sued government environment agencies for a nearly four-month stoppage of its operations, in the first legal challenge to the state’s environmental crackdown on the mining sector.

The Philippines is the world’s top nickel ore supplier and an environmental audit that has halted a quarter of its 41 mines plus the risk that 20 more may be shuttered has fuelled a rally in global nickel prices.

Benguetcorp Nickel Mines Inc’s (BNMI) mine in Zambales province, north of the capital Manila, is among 10 suspended for environmental infractions in a government clampdown on damage from mining in July and August.

“Seeing that BNMI is left with no other viable administrative remedy, it is constrained to elevate to the Courts the matter of the unlawful suspension of its nickel mining operations,” the company said in a statement.

The company filed a “petition for certiorari with injunction to assail the suspension order” jointly issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Environmental Management Bureau and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional offices with a regional trial court in Pampanga province, said Anna Montes, spokeswoman for parent firm Benguet Corp.

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