MANILA, Philippines - Government has granted a global miner an environmental clearance for its $5.9 billion Tampakan copper-gold project, touted to be the Philippines' single biggest foreign direct investment.
In a statement, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje says the grant of the ECC covers Sagittarius Mining's proposed project in Tampakan, South Cotabato and three other boundaries in the provinces of Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur.
Sagittarius Mines is the Philippine subsidiary of global miner Xstrata Copper.
But Paje said the grant is subject to certain conditions and does not cover areas that prohibit mining.
"SMI should make public the feasibility of the project, ensure that the area does not cover those where mining is prohibited, and ensure social acceptability through consultation with stakeholders," Paje said.
Sagittarius project involves open pit mining, which is banned in South Cotabato.
The ECC was issued in the wake of a mining incident in Semirara, also an open pit mine.
In October last year, President Aquino said he wants Congress to first pass legislation to raise state revenues from mining and stricter environmental safeguards before issuing new mining permits.
In a separate statement, Sagittarius Mines says it received official notice from the DENR about the grant of the ECC.
"We received official notification that the DENR has signed the ECC for our Tampakan Mine project," the company said.
"We are pleased with this development. We will issue a more detailed statement when we have reviewed its subsequent conditions."