Mining permit on Pan de Azucar set to expire in June 2024

Mount Manaphag looms over Pan de Azucar Island. (Photo courtesy of Maestro Gala PH)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The mining exploration permit of TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) on Pan de Azucar Island in Concepcion town is due to expire in June of this year.

Atty. Cesar Emmanuel Buyco, head of the Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Office (PGENRO), confirmed to Daily Guardian on Monday that the Mineral Processing and Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of TVIRD will reach its expiration in June.

Last week, heavy equipment used by the mining firm for exploration was loaded onto barges and returned to the mainland following a cease and desist order (CDO) issued by the provincial government against their mining activities in March.

“They’ve already retrieved their equipment, likely due to economic considerations since they are unable to operate at present and have limited time, given their MPSA will expire by mid-June,” Buyco explained.

“Perhaps they no longer have sufficient time to conduct activities on the island and must rely on their existing findings to create a feasibility report, which they will then submit to the national office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau,” he added.

TVIRD is involved in a “pyrite joint venture project” on the island, operating under the MPSA with Mindoro Resource Ltd. and Minimax Mineral Exploration Corporation.

A public document from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources shows that the MPSA of Minimax Mineral Exploration Corp. under tenement MPSA No. 135-99-VI will expire on June 19, 2024.

The MPSA, approved on June 19, 1999, covers exploration activities for copper and gold in Concepcion and Ajuy.

An MPSA grants the contractor the exclusive right to conduct mining operations within the contract area for 25 years from the effective date, which can be renewed for another term not exceeding 25 years.


Residents of Concepcion town have strongly opposed the renewal of permits for TVIRD.

The “Save Pan de Azucar Movement” drafted a petition urging that the firm’s permits not be renewed, garnering over 500 signatures.

“We express our strong opposition against this inhumane act of alien companies on Pan de Azucar Island, we affix our signature to appeal to the higher authorities and to act immediately and demand not to grant renewal of their permits to resume their exploration/mining activities,” reads a dispositive part of the petition.

The petition gathered signatures as early as the construction of barracks in Talotoan, the area serving as the base for exploration activities, and the transport of heavy mining equipment to the island in early January.

Buyco noted that the provincial government has yet to receive a copy of the petition.

Besides the petition against permit renewal, Buyco mentioned they have received a petition advocating for the continuation of mineral exploration.

This second petition, orchestrated by residents formerly employed by TVIRD for exploration, also collected numerous signatures, although many appeared to be just “rehashed.”

“The signatures reached four pages but upon verification, it seems that there are only 123 legitimate signatures. The names and signatures were just written repeatedly,” he said.


Buyco emphasized that both the provincial government and TVIRD are awaiting the results of water testing conducted by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

“Just like us, I think TVIRD is also on ‘wait and see’ for the results of the water testing by the EMB. That’s two months already and maybe the results are coming this May,” he said.

The EMB gathered water samples on March 25 for laboratory analysis to confirm the presence of arsenic, which served as the basis for the provincial government’s CDO.

Daily Guardian has reached out to TVIRD regarding their plans after the expiration of their MPSA in June, but the mining company has yet to respond as of writing.

Should the MPSA be renewed, Buyco affirmed that the provincial government remains steadfast in opposing any mining activities on the island.


  1. Did the EMB identify the source of arsenic? Arsenic is not used in whatever form during exploration nor it is used in mining operation. What if the arsenic is innate in the area? Do these people know that arsenic is high in areas with massive sulphide deposit? What will the EMB, provincial government and the petitioners do if they found out that it is occurring naturally?


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