Digging for profits: Who owns PH mines?


Name of mining firm: BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Inc.
Location: Sta. Cruz, Zambales
Mining area: 1,406.74 hectares
Metals extracted/mine products: Nickel
Nickel production (2020): 6,808 dry metric tons (direct shipping ore) valued at P11,730,016
Mining permit period: 2005-2030
Total manpower complement: 323



Incorporation date: Oct. 2, 2009

Benguet Corp.
Mendoza, Reynaldo P.
Villegas, Bernardo M.
Fernandez, Lina G.
Arceno, Max D.

Chairperson of the Board: Mendoza, Reynaldo P.



Current assets: P987 million (2019)
Current liabilities: P786.92 million (2019)
Total revenue: P64.65 million (2019)
Revenue from sale of nickel ores: P64.06 million (2019)
Net income: -P191.16 million (2019)



BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Inc.’s mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) is suspended, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau’s list of MPSAs as of Feb. 28, 2021.

On Feb. 13, 2017, the company received an order from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) cancelling its MPSA for the Sta. Cruz Nickel project. The order alleged that the company’s operation overlapped with a watershed. Prior to this order, the DENR in a separate report dated Oct. 3, 2016, found that the company had violated several conditions of its Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and other legal provisions.

On Feb. 22, 2017, the company filed an appeal before the Office of the President to revise the DENR’s cancellation order. The company claimed it was operating within the Zambales chromite mineral reservation, which it said had been excluded from government-declared watersheds.

In its 2019 financial statement, the company noted that the Office of the President, as of March 20, 2019, had yet to respond to the appeal. The results of a review by the Mineral Industry Coordinating Council have yet to be released of writing.

In 2016, concerned citizens of Sta. Cruz, Zambales filed a petition for a Writ of Kalikasan, an injunction, against five mining firms including BenguetCorp. The Supreme Court granted the petition. But after petitions before the Court of Appeals, the provisional Writ of Kalikasan issued by the high court was lifted.



Municipality class of mining location: Sta. Cruz, Zambales (1st class)
Population: 58,151 (2015)
Poverty incidence rate: 23.7% (2015)
Human Development Index: 0.53 (2012, provincial)
Major sources of livelihood: Nickel mining, farming, fishing



SC issues Writ of Kalikasan vs 5 mining firms
Benguet Corp welcomes SC lifting of Writ of Kalikasan
Suspended Philippine nickel miner mounts first legal challenge to gov't crackdown



General Information Sheet, 2020
Financial Statement, 2019
List of existing Mineral Production Sharing Agreements, Mining and Geosciences Bureau
Philippine Metallic Mineral Production, Mines and Geosciences Bureau
Social Development and Management Program
Santa Cruz, Zambales nickel mining impacts sustainable agriculture and fisheries, Environmental Justice Atlas
Poverty and socioeconomic indicators, Philippines Statistics Authority


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 the 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.