Digging for profits: Who owns PH mines?


Name of mining firm: Platinum Group Metals Corp.
Location: Claver, Surigao del Norte
Mining area: 4,376 hectares
Metals extracted/mine products: Nickel
Nickel production (2020): 2,528,162 dry metric tons (direct shipping ore) valued at P5,045,502,273
Mining permit period: 2016-2042 (renewed)



Incorporation date: Feb. 19, 1983

Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc.
Agsalon, Juan A.
Sy, Joseph C.
Bravo, Dante R.
Lazaro, Noel B.
Paredes, Ceferino Jr. S.
Chua, Francis C.
Matilac, Carlo A.
De los Santos, Cymbelly
Ng, Kirby Erin C.
Nevado, Mario A.

Chairperson of the Board: Sy, Joseph C.



Current assets: P1.53 billion (2019)
Current liabilities: P892.92 million (2019)
Total revenue: P6.10 billion (2019)
Revenue from sale of nickel ore: P6.10 billion revenue from contracts with Chinese customers (2019)
Net income: P1.03 billion (2019)



The audit did not result in any violation found. The report contains generally favorable results. 

The full report may be viewed here.

Note: Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. on April 6, 2021 issued a statement (released as a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange) that its unit, Platinum Group Metals Corp. (PGMC), “has never been issued an order of closure or suspension. Nor has PGMC received any such order.”

However, a total of 28 mines were listed in a press release published in February 2017 on the website of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Based on that list, which was widely reported in the news media, PGMC was one of the mining firms ordered closed by the late secretary Gina Lopez.

On March 4, 2022, PCIJ wrote to DENR-MGB requesting clarification why PGMC was included in the DENR list. We have not received a response as of this writing.        



PCIJ sent a letter to the company on March 4, 2022 and made follow-ups on March 24, 2022. We have not received a response as of this writing.



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



Municipality class of mining location: Claver, Surigao del Norte (2nd class)
Population: 32,773 (2015)
Poverty incidence rate: 34.28% (2015)
Human Development Index: 0.51 (2012, provincial)
Indigenous peoples in the area living near the mining area: Mamanwa



Global Ferronickel suspends Surigao del Norte mining
Mining despoils Surigao del Norte



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.

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