Digging for profits: Who owns PH mines?


Name of mining firm: Mt. Sinai Mining Exploration and Development Corp.
Location: Homonhon Island, Guian, Eastern Samar
Mining area: 510.16 hectares
Metals extracted/mine products: Chromite
Mining permit period: 2011-2036


Incorporation date: April 22, 2005
Lao, Vicente T.
Lao Bee Eng, Elena T.
Lao, Jaime TR.
Ang, Ruben T.
Ang, Danny Dave L.

Chairperson of the Board: Lao, Vicente T.

Vicente T. Lao owns Vicente T. Lao Construction, one of the leading contractors of infrastructure projects implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). PCIJ reportedthat the company has been among the Top 15 contractors of DPWH since the Arroyo administration.



Current assets: P2.89 million (2018)
Current liabilities: P631,192.83 (2018)
Total revenue: P10.28 million (2018)
Revenue from sale of mine products: Not indicated (2018)
Net income: -P13.96 million (2018)



On Feb. 8, 2017, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued an order cancelling the company’s Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA).

On Nov. 12, 2018, DENR issued a resolution (1) partially granting the motion for reconsideration on the cancellation order; (2) suspending the operations of the company; and (3) directing the company to undertake:

a. full corrective measures on ail violations and deficiencies; and

b. full payment of all fines and penalties immediately upon receipt of the resolution.

Prior to the 2017 order, a DENR audit team found that Mt. Sinai was causing siltation in the coastal waters of Eastern Samar. Former DENR undersecretary Leo Jasareno, who headed the audit, said in a news report that “Mt. Sinai was not practicing engineered mining methods and caused deforestation in the area.” DENR suspended Mt. Sinai’s operations in August 2016. 



Municipality class of mining location: Guiuan, Eastern Samar (2nd class)
Population: 52,991 (2015)
Poverty incidence rate: 34.6% (2015)
Human Development Index: 0.41 (2012, province)



Govt shuts down 2 E. Samar mines
Suspended mining firms submit rehabilitation plans



General Information Sheet, 2019
Financial Statement, 2018
List of existing Mineral Production Sharing Agreements
Philippine Metallic Mineral Production, Mines and Geosciences Bureau
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.