Digging for profits: Who owns PH mines?


Name of mining firm: Benguet Corp.
Location: Itogon, Benguet
Scope of operations: Itogon, Benguet; Sta. Cruz, Zambales; Baguio City; Bagac, Bataan; Zamboanga del Sur; Surigao del Sur
Start of operations: Aug. 12, 1903
Metals extracted/mine products: Nickel, gold, silver and limestone
Mine production (2020): 243 kilograms of gold valued at P687,320,237 and 107 kilograms of silver valued at P3,600,833
Total manpower complement: 853



Incorporation date: June 18, 1956
Stock market listing date: Jan. 4, 1950
No. of stockholders: 16,906

Top five stockholders: 
PCD Nominee Corp.
F-Yap Securities Inc.
First Metro Investment Corp.
F. Yap Securities Inc.
Philex Mining Corp

Chairperson of the Board: Villegas, Bernardo M.

Editor's Note: Benguet Corp. was under the control of the Romualdez family until the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, when Benjamin Philip and Daniel Andrew Romualdez, sons of alleged Marcos crony Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, left the company after decades of fighting government sequestration. Benjamin Philip Romualdez is the husband of Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, president and CEO of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.



Current assets: P813.43 million (2019)
Current liabilities: P1.11 billion (2019)
Total revenue: P802.07 million (2019)
Revenue from sale of nickel, gold, silver and limestone: P747.77 million (2019)
Net income: P115.74 million (2019)



According to the 2016 Mine Audit Report, Benguet Corp. should be ordered to stop operations, after due process, based on the following violations:

  • Operating a controlled disposal facility, which is prohibited under DAO 2007-34, the IRR of RA 9003;

  • Maintaining/storing toxic and hazardous materials without accredited treatment, storage and disposal facilities, which is mandatory under RA 6969;

  • Failure to install an air pollution control device and apply for a permit to operate upon installation to comply with RA 8749; and

  • Abandoning the Antamok area without proper rehabilitation after it stopped operations when mining was no longer economically viable.

The full report and/or copy of the DENR order may be viewed here.


PCIJ sent a letter to the company on Feb. 14, 2022. PCIJ sent a letter to the company on Feb. 14, 2022 and made follow-ups on March 2, 2022 and March 24, 2022. We have not received a response as of this writing.



Despite Lopez’s closure order, Benguet Corp. continued operations after filing an appeal with the Office of the President. Read PCIJ’s full story here.



Municipality class of mining location: Itogon, Benguet (1st class)
Population: 59,820 (2015 Census)
Poverty incidence rate: 6.3% (2015)
Human Development Index: 0.88 (2012, provincial)
Indigenous peoples living within or near the mining location: Ibaloy, Kankaney

Itogon is a mining town and host to the first large-scale mining operations in the Philippines, Benguet Corp. Other major mining companies such as Philex Mining Corp. and Macawiwili Gold Mining and Development Company also operate in Itogon.



Philippine mines continue unhampered 4 years after Gina’s shutdown order
Itogon residents sue Benguet Corporation  
Benguet Corp: Small scale miners in Itogon ignored warnings
Philippines 'not fit' for open-pit mining: Gina Lopez



Financial Statement, Benguet Corp. and Subsidiaries, 2019
Annual Report, Benguet Corp., 2019
List of existing Mineral Production Sharing Agreements, Mining and Geosciences Bureau
Philippine Metallic Mineral Production, Mines and Geosciences Bureau
Poverty and socioeconomic indicators, Philippines Statistics Authority

Copy of full Mine Audit Reports by company, 2016
Copy of Notices of Issuance of an Order, 2017
Copy of Orders of Cancellation and/or Suspension, 2017

Acronyms used:

RA (Republic Act)
IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations)
PD (Presidential Decree)
DAO (Department Administrative Order)
MPSA (Mineral Production Sharing Agreement)
SDMP (Social Development and Management Plan)

Disclaimer: The mine audit was conducted in 2016 after Regina “Gina” Paz Lopez assumed the post of environment secretary. The findings in the reports, which authorities sent to the mining firms in 2016, were likely addressed in the succeeding years following a review conducted by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council after the audit led by Lopez, who died in 2019. PCIJ has verified the reports and reached out to each company for comment. We suggest you also confirm findings included in the reports as some information may have changed over time.

The reports come from files that PCIJ has received in connection with various environmental investigations. We are releasing them in full, recognizing the public value of the files to mining communities, miners, policymakers, civil society and researchers.
Note: The Human Development Index is a measure of how well a country has performed, not only in terms of real income growth, but also in terms of social indicators that measure people's ability to lead a long and healthy life, acquire knowledge and skills, and have access to resources needed to afford a decent standard of living. An HDI value below 0.550 is considered low and below 0.399 is very low. The national average for the Philippines is 0.718 as of 2020.

This article was produced with the support of Internews' Earth Journalism Network.