Lucio Tan taps Romualdez firm to exploit Macroasia's nickel mine in Palawan
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Lucio Tan taps Romualdez firm to exploit Macroasia’s nickel mine in Palawan

Macroasia (MAC) led by chairman and CEO Lucio Tan has found a partner to explore and operate its long idle mining project in Brooke’s Point, Palawan dubbed the Infanta nickel project.

The MAC board approved the signing of a memorandum of agreement between its subsidiary, MacroAsia Mining, and Calmia Nickel.

A source said Calmia is owned by the Romualdez family which controls the country’s oldest mining firm, Benguet Corp.

MAC has a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) covering 1.1 hectares in Brooke’s Point. MAC used to produce nickel in the area in the 1970s when it exported nickel laterite to Sumitomo in Japan until it was forced to close down due to the plunge in nickel prices.

The reopening of the Infanta nickel mining project, however, has been stalled due to legal and environmental issues as the mine project traversed indigenous land.

MAC has been poised to shelve the project a few years ago due to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources clamp down on mining in the early part of the Duterte administration.

“While the Company finds its MPSAs valid and subsisting as affirmed by the MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau) through the DENR, the prevailing mining prospects do not support nickel mining. Accordingly, management believes that the full provision of P217.1 million recognized in 2016 is still appropriate as of December 31, 2020,” said MAC in its recent annual report.

But with President Rodrigo Duterte making a U-turn on his mining policy last April, MAC has joined other mining companies in dusting off their mining projects amid the surge in metal prices.

 

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