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OceanaGold defends record on Philippines

Friday 21st January 2011

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Gold miner OceanaGold hit down reports that its Didipio Project in the Philippines has violated the rights of indigenous people and said it is committed to the project.

Reuters reported this week that the Philippines' human rights commission said the Government should consider withdrawing OceanaGold's rights to the project because the miner had violated rights of indigenous people.

Leo Jasareno, acting director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), said he had not yet seen the recommendations, but the bureau would have to look into them.

OceanaGold operates gold mines in New Zealand in Otago and on the West Coast.

The Didipio mine, with a reserve life of 20 years, holds 1.41 million ounces of gold and 169,400 tonnes of copper, based on a report released last year by OceanaGold.

OceanaGold said in a statement to the NZX today that it was fully committed to the project.

The company said it was compliant with all the laws and regulations associated with operating as a foreign company in the Philippines and was committed to ethical, responsible and sustainable mineral development.

It was meeting its obligations under a leasehold agreement and was operating in accordance with the Philippine Mining Act in partnership with the Philippine Government and with local community stakeholders.

"The company is firmly committed to building strong and enduring relationships with our community in the development and ongoing operations of the Didipio Project for the benefit of all stakeholders," chief executive Mick Wilkes said.

The company is due to restart construction work this year, Reuters reported.



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