The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) revealed that the Agata Mining Ventures Inc. (AMVI) and Nickel Asia, among others, have been illegally operating in the Caraga region for years, lacking pertinent documents under Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the “Indigenous People’s Rights Act.”
According to a report, mining companies such as San Roque Metals Corporation (SRMI), Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC), Adnama Mining Resources Incorporated (AMRI), Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation (THPAL), Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC) and Greenstone Mining lack a Certification Precondition (CP).
NCIP-Caraga Regional Director Ferdausi Sanila Cerna expressed that he discovered the illegal operations after requesting copies of their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with indigenous peoples (IPs) from NCIP’s Ancestral Domain Office in Manila.
However, reports stated that SRMI, TMC, THPAL, PGMC, and Greenstone mining have pending applications for CP.
“AMVI, Nickel Asia, and Amri have not applied for a Certification Precondition,” NCIP Ancestral Domain Office Bureau Director Michael Mamukid wrote in a letter dated October 22, 2019.
The lack of the CP means mining firms can get away with depriving IPs and the government of their fair share from their operations.
Cerna believed that mining companies were able to operate for years despite failure to obtain a CP because of collusion with erring NCIP officials in previous administrations.
“Just imagine how many years the mining firms have been getting away with not giving the IPs and government what they are due under the law. Some of them have been operating for decades without CP,” Cerna was quoted as saying in the report.
The NCIP official said he has informed AMVI about its violation of the IPRA Law. He will send similar letters to other mining companies.