Digging for profits: Who owns PH mines?


Name of mining firm: Marcventures Mining and Development Corp.
Location: Cantila, Surigao del Sur
Mining area: 4,799 hectares
Metals extracted/mine products: Nickel
Nickel production (2020): 1,027,405 dry metric tons (direct shipping ore) valued at P1,658,880,078
Mining permit period: 1993-2027



Incorporation date: Jan. 18, 1995

Marcventures Holdings Inc.
Zalamea, Cesar C.
Alcantara, Isidro Jr. C.
Te, Anthony M.
Santos, Rolando S.
Dy, Daniel Oliver T.
Tiu, Arturo L.

Chairperson of the Board: Zalamea, Cesar C.



Current assets: P587.29 million (2018)
Current liabilities: P2.28 billion (2018)
Total revenue: P987.26 million (2018)
Revenue from sale of nickel ore: P987.26 million (2018)
Net income: -P262.93 million (2018)



According to the 2016 Mine Audit Report, DENR recommended the suspension of Marcventures’ commercial operations because of violations and/or issues pertaining to the “safety and health, environmental protection, and rehabilitation of mined-out areas and other disturbed areas, rehabilitation of areas affected by siltation, implementation of the SDMP (Social Development and Management Plan) program, and planting of three million trees.”

The document includes a long list of recommendations for Marcventures to comply with before it could be allowed to resume operations.  

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



In a Feb. 26, 2022 response to PCIJ, Marcventures said that as regards the mine audit report, “the issues raised are capable of being addressed or rectified and the company is in fact continuously instituting remedial measures as part of its operational compliance activities and commitments as an MPSA holder.”

Marcventures said that it had “religiously adhered to all laws, rules, and regulations, including the terms and conditions of its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA),” including the strict implementation of the various work programs.

As for the MICC review, Marcventures said that it was “fairly optimistic that the results of the MICC audit will support its position that there was no sufficient basis for the 2016 audit findings recommending the suspension of its operations.” It added that the company had “continued to implement and adopt measures not only to rectify any shortcomings allegedly found in its operations but more importantly, it has continuously sought to improve operational efficiencies both in the area of its regulatory compliances and in maintaining its commitments to its host communities.”

Marcventures noted that in August 2021, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, co-chairman of the MICC, “MICC has ruled with finality that no metallic mines will either be suspended or shut down from the mining audit review conducted by the late and former DENR Secretary Lopez.”

Marcventures’ response may be viewed here.



In February 2017, then Environment Secretary Gina Lopez ordered the closure of Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. and 22 other mines. No update on the status of the Marcventures’ mining operations could be found. The results of a review by the Mineral Industry Coordinating Council have yet to be released as well as of writing.



Municipality class of mining location: Cantilan, Surigao del Sur (2nd class)
Population: 31,492 (2015)
Poverty incidence rate: 28.6% (2015)
Human Development Index: 0.55 (2012, provincial)
Indigenous peoples living within or near the mining location: Manobo



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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
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 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.

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