Press Release
September 27, 2015

Nancy questions 'paltry' fine paid by mining company Records show SR Metals, Inc. officer is LP funder, shareholder is LP official

Senator Nancy Binay questioned the fine paid by a mining company with links to the Liberal Party during a Senate environment committee hearing on mining issues.

"Ang liit-liit na nga ng penalty tapos wala pang provision that the company will be banned for violating their permit, kumbaga tuloy-tuloy lang ang ligaya," Binay said.

SR Metals, Inc. and its subsidiaries San R Mining and Galeo Equipment and Mining Corp. paid only P7.2 million as fine for extracting nickel and cobalt ore over its allowed limit of 150,000 metric tons combined per year.

Each company, then operating as a small-scale miner, was allowed to extract only 50,000 metric tons per year each under Presidential Decree (P.D.) 1899 (Establishing Small-Scale Mining as a New Dimension in Mineral Development).

SR Metals President Miguel Alberto Gutierrez said that the companies extracted between 1.2 to 1.5 million metric tons of ore from March to September 2007 despite only having a small-scale mining permit.

The company earned at least a billion pesos for the over-extraction of the minerals.

"Siguradong ang laki-laki na ng nakuhang profit ng minahang ito, small-scale miner pero large-scale kung umasta," Binay said.

"At kakarampot lamang ang na-impose na fine sa over-extraction ng ore o ang diperensya ng in-extract na ore kumpara sa allowed ng batas," she added.

Records show that SR Metals, Inc. lists as officer Enrico "Eric" Gutierrez, a known LP funder. Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice, an LP ranking official, used to be company president from 1997 to 2005 and is currently listed as a company shareholder.

"Hindi mabigat yung penalties that we are now imposing to violators of the law. Hindi nagiging deterrent yung ginagawang penalty dito sa SR Metals," Binay said.

"Kailangan nating palakasin ang batas at matanggal ang mga loopholes, lalo na pagdating sa imposition of fines sa mga violators, upang mapangalagaan ang ating natural resources," Binay said.

The committee ordered the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to submit the schedule of penalties to determine the types of violations and their corresponding penalties, and to determine if the fine is commensurate to the violation.

Binay earlier filed Senate Resolution number 1338 which directs the appropriate Senate committees to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, regarding the alleged violations of R.A. 7076 (People's Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991) and P.D. 1899, in the village of La Fratemidad in the town of Tubay, Agusan del Norte.

Reports said that despite the apparent irregularities in the shipment of ores, no government agency has yet taken the companies to court for the massive shipment of ores, which amounted to billions of pesos.

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