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  • Legal Rights Center

Case v. Oceanagold to proceed to full trial

Updated: May 2



 

The petition for certiorari and continuing mandamus filed against the mining agreement renewal of large-scale miner Oceanagold is set to proceed, with the assignment of the case to Judge Paul Attolba Jr. of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Nueva Vizcaya last Thursday.

 

“The case to cancel Oceanagold’s Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) renewal is well underway and we welcome the court’s immediate raffling of the case. The court only holds in abeyance the petition for a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) as it sought to immediately proceed to threshing out the arguments in a full-blown trial. The decision on the TEPO is not a ruling on the merits of the case,” said Atty. Ryan Roset, Senior Legal Fellow of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) and one of the legal counsels to the case.

 

(“Nagpapatuloy ang kaso para sa pagkansela ng FTAA ng Oceanagold at malugod nating binabati ang kagyat na pag raffle ng kaso ng korte. Itinabi muna ang desisyon sa TEPO ng korte dahil pinasya nitong kagyat na dumiretso na sa paglilitis ng mga argumento. Ang desisyon sa TEPO ay hindi pa pagpapasya sa laman mismo ng kaso.”)

 

“While we look forward to hearing from the respondents as well, we are considering a motion for reconsideration over the TEPO given how OceanaGold’s blatant disregard of the provincial environmental code’s prohibition of open pit mining poses real and present dangers to the affected communities and the entire watershed,” Atty. Roset furthered.

 

The RTC Nueva Vizcaya is expected to set a schedule soon for the trial after this initial decision.

 

“The decision to proceed to hearing arguments means the Court recognizes the serious concerns raised in the petition. Indeed, the potential impacts of another 25 years of mining from Oceanagold with which affected communities and concerned stakeholders were not informed of in prior and proper consultations, can have devastating consequences for a watershed province that supplies life-giving water for almost 4 million Filipinos,” Atty. Roset explained.

 

The case proceeds amid the announced slashing of the price of OceanaGold’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) by 23%, or as much as PhP 1.9 billion worth of shares, indicating possible market jitters over the developing legal action and growing concern over OceanaGold’s conduct of operations. 


“If only to emphasize, 25 years have already lapsed since the execution of the original FTAA, and thus, significant changes in the environment and land situation of the contract area have inevitably already occurred. This necessitates the conduct of a completely new and equally stringent and thorough evaluation if a new term for a mining project is to be considered,” he ended.# 

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