Last update:

Ipilan and MacroAsia nickel mines in Brooke's point, Palawan, Philippines

15,000 trees were felled before the mining company was stopped by local inhabitatnts, local government, and also by the DERN. Bishop's intervention.


This is only one of several conflictive nickel mines in Palawan, an island of great biodiversity value. In April 2017 the local government of Brooke’s Point in Palawan vowed to press charges against Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC) after the latter allegedly resumed its mining activities despite the cancellation of its Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and having no  Permit from the local government. Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano said they were preparing the charges against the mining company and would  push for the cancellation of the company’s Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) Clearance issued by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).[5].  In May 2017, after former environment minister Gina Lopez was dismissed from the government, it was reported that the cutting of thousands of century-old trees by Ipilan Nickel Corp in Palawan had drawn the ire not olny of the local population but also of a Catholic bishop who urged for action so that it won’t happen again. As the country’s “last ecological frontier” because of its unique biodiversity, Bishop Socrates Mesiona emphasized the importance of protecting the province’s environment. “This is a tragedy because Palawan is the last frontier so we hope that our environment will be protected, especially the century-old trees,” Mesiona said over Manila archdiocese-run Radio Veritas. Thousands of trees in Brooke’s Point town had been cut just days after former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez was rejected by the Commission on Appointments. The former Cabinet official said the cutting of trees will affect 3,000 hectares of agricultural land and 30,000 people in at least five barangays. The prelate then lauded the unity among the people and local officials who fought to protect the environment. Local officials were also planning to sue the mining company and demand for the cancellation of the firm’s environmental plan permit and a mineral sharing agreement with the government. [4] By 19 May 2017 [6] it was reported that  Natividad Bernardino, DENR director of the Mimaropa Region (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), issued the order canceling the tree cutting permit previously issued to INC. DENR officials told company representatives during a consultation here that the tree cutting violated of the suspension of their environmental compliance certificate (ECC), which former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez issued. INC, an affiliate of Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc., one of the country’s largest producers of nickel ore, defended its move, saying its ECC was valid because of its pending appeal. However, Mining and Geosciences Bureau Direcor Roland de Jesus,  clarified  that the government had sent the company letters stating it was not allowed to conduct any activity following the ECC suspension. Gina Lopez´z successor,  Cimatu,  told company officials. “You should be man enough to face the consequences if you make a mistake.” [3] [6]. The company is facing a cancellation of its permits, including the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) clearance as petitioned by the Brooke’s Point government. The company is also facing illegal logging charges and violation of Republic Act No. 9175 or the Chainsaw Act of 2002

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ipilan and MacroAsia nickel mines in Brooke's point, Palawan, Philippines
State or province:Palawan
Location of conflict:Brooke’s Point town
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific commodities:Nickel
Project Details and Actors
Project details

According to the mining atlas information [1]: This mining project covers an area of 2,835 hectares, and has substantial permitting already in place. The Ipilan Nickel corp. will earn a 52% economic interest in this project, with the right to increase this to 71.2% through future payments. The nearest port for exportation is at 123km and the town at 15km. According to the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code (PMRC)-Competent Person's Technical Report the explored portion of the property has proven and probable ore reserves of 28.6 million WMT at 1.43% Ni and 24.01% Fe from a measured and indicated mineral resource of 50.0 million DMT at 1.23% Ni and 24.0% Fe [2]. The company plants to export to China and Australia. MacroAsia holds exclusive rights to explore and develop nickel, chromite, iron and other mineral deposits in 1,114 hectares of land at Brooke's Point.

Project area:2,835
Level of Investment for the conflictive project20,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:54,800
Start of the conflict:2005
Company names or state enterprises:Ipilan Nickel Corp (INC) from Philippines
Toledo mining corp. from Philippines
Baiyin International Investment Ltd from China
Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc (FNI) from Philippines
MacroAsia Corporation from Philippines
Celestial Nickel Mining Exploration Corp. (CNMEC) from Philippines
Nippon Mining Company of Japan (Nippon) from Japan
Relevant government actors:DENR: Department of Environmental and Natural Resources; PCSD: Palawan Conuncil for Sustainable Development
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:OIPAPI: indigenous organization; KKLNA: Kabiagan Lupaing Nununo; SIKAP: Samahan Isinusulong and Koagusan ng Pamayanan; SAMMI Fundation; WV: World Vision; AMP: Augustinian Missionaries of the Philippines
MCIA and SIA: Irrigator's Associations of Massin-Calasague and Sabsaban.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Irrigator's Associations
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Project temporarily suspended
On 20th of May in 2017: The DENR cancelled the tree-cutting permit of Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC) following Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu's inspection of the company's mining [3].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Perhaps the mining project will start at a later date but the attempt to start cutting trees on the site was stopped in May 2017.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

The mining controversy and the dynamics of conflict in Brooke's point, Palawan
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[1] Atlas mining: Toledo mining information
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[2] Company Overview of Ipilan Nickel Corporation
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[3] DENR stops Ipilan Nickel Corp. from cutting more trees in Palawan
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[6]Cimatu stops Palawan nickel mining firm from cutting trees

By: Redempto D. Anda.
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Philippines' No. 2 nickel miner to appeal canceled permit for undeveloped mine
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Chainsaw massacre of Palawan forest probed
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Palawan town to sue miner for clearing forest.
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[4] CBCP, Catholic news. Bishop cries foul after mining firm clears forest in Palawan. Posted by Roy Lagarde | May 19, 2017
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[5] Palawan News, 5 April 2017. Brooke’s Point LGU to press charges against Ipilan Nickel Corporation.
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No to mining in Palawan Brooke's Point.
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Meta information
Contributor:SM and JMA (ICTA-UAB)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2830
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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