Marcventure’s mining operations in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, Philippines

Marcventures mining activities threaten ancestral lands, endangered species and crucial water reserves. Several thousand villagers protest against the mine.


On July 1, 1993, Marcventure Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC) received a mining permit covering 4,799ha, located in the Diwata Mountain Range, Cantilan, Surigao del Sur [1]. In 2008, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) granted an Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) to the company, in spite of an overlap of their project area with a central watershed forest reserve, declared as such in the 2009 Presidential Proclamation No. 1747 [2]. The watershed area is crucial to the province’s irrigation and water supply, as well as livelihoods, lives and indigenous cultures [2;3;4]. It further contains one of the few remaining primary forests and biodiversity hotspots, such as the habitat of the endangered Philippine eagle, making it a key target for conservation efforts [5].

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Basic Data
NameMarcventure’s mining operations in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, Philippines
ProvinceSurigao del Sur
SiteCantilan municipality, Carrascal municipality
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific Commoditiesnickel ore
Rare metals
Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsMarcventure Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC) was created by Ventura Timber Corporation (VTC). The company holds a Mining Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) MPSA No. 016-93-X (SMR), covering 4,799ha, located in the Diwata Mountain Range, Cantilan Surigao del Sur. The MPSA, granted on July 1, 1993, states gold and copper reserves and on July 1, 2018 [1]. The company was further approved to mine nickel ore within its MPSA [7;11].

The mining capacity, using open pit mining, was reported to amount to 800,000 wet metric tons of nickel ore (WMT) per year [7]. In 2013, production rose significantly, to an ore shipment volume of 2.8 million WMT [11]. Measured nickel mineral resources were reported to amount to 45.324 million WMT, containing a total of 344.739 MT of nickel [12].

In 2010, the planned investment was stated to amount to 470 million PHP (roughly 10 million USD) [6].

On March 23, 2009, the Presidential Proclamation No. 1747 declared parts of the rivers and water falls within Cantilan municipality as watershed forest reserves, comprising 43,601ha [7].

MMDC is a 100% subsidiary of Marcventure Holdings Inc. a company listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange [11]. Among the principal shareholders is the Trust & Investment Center of Philippine Business Bank (A Savings Bank) with 32.94% of shares, as of December 31, 2014. Other principal shareholders are individuals rather than companies [11]. Among other companies involved, listed under “affiliates”, is the Asian Alliance Investment Corp [11].
Project Area (in hectares)4,799
Level of Investment (in USD)>10,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population>10,000
Start Date01/07/1993
Company Names or State EnterprisesMarcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC) from Philippines
Marcventures Holdings, Inc. (MARC) (MARC) from Philippines - mining
Relevant government actorsDepartment of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); Local Governmental Units (LGU) of Cantilan and Carrascal
International and Financial InstitutionsPhilippine Business Bank from Philippines - banking, finance, investment
Asian Alliance Investment Corporation from Philippines - banking, finance, investment
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCarcanmadcarlan Baywatch Foundation; Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM); Baywatch foundation; Tambuyog Development Center; Nagpakabana nga Carcanmadcarlanon (NnC); HARIBON Foundation; Catholic Bishop Church in the Philippines (CBCP); Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center — Kasama sa Kailkasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-KsK/FOE); Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA); Green Mindanao Association.

The petitioners for a writ of Kalikasan came from the Tribal Coalition of Mindanao, Daging Manobo Sectoral Tribal Council, urbistondo Manobo-Mamanwa Sectoral Tribal Council, Kinalablaban Sectoral Tribal Council, Cabanghan Tribal Community – Manobo Tribe.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Indigenous Badjao and Manobo tribes
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Other Environmental impacts, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Mine tailing spills
OtherSiltation of closeby rivers and coastal areas; related declines in fish stock
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Other Health impacts
Potential: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
OtherExposure to heavy metals
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesLocals EJO and the LGU of Cantilan want to project to be stopped.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The project goes on.
Sources and Materials

Philippine Mining Act of 1995
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The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA)
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[3] PIPLINKS online (16/08/2010): "Surigao Town Celebrate Fiesta by Opposing Mining Code" (accessed 23/05/2015)
[click to view]

[4] PIPLINKS online (12/04/2013): "Philippine tribal protest forces mine closure" (accessed 23/05/2015)
[click to view]

[6] PIPLINKS online (24/08/2010): "Mayor, anti-mining group unite vs mining project in Surigao Sur " (accessed 23/05/2015)
[click to view]

[7] PIPLINKS online (15/07/2010): "Sursur Mayor denied permit of Marcventures Mining" (accessed 23/05/2015)
[click to view]

[8] PIPLINKS online (17/08/2010): "Surigao del Sur Town Denies Mining Company Permit the Second Time Around" (accessed 23/05/2015)
[click to view]

[9] GMA NEWS online (30/05/2011): SC asked to issue writ of kalikasan vs mining firms in Surigao" (accessed 23/05/2015)
[click to view]

[2] PIPLINKS online (29/04/2009): "Officials say Cantilan is Surigao’s ‘ no-mining town’ " (accessed 23/05/2015)
[click to view]

[5] PIPLINKS online (29/04/2012): "Surigao del Sur residents stage mining rallies: Bishop leads anti; Ex-Gov leads pro" (accessed 23/05/2015)
[click to view]

[10] Manila Bulletin online (17/10/2014): "Marcventures allowed to resume mining nickel" (accessed 23/05/2015)
[click to view]

[11] Marcventures Holding Inc. company website (accessed 23/05/2015)
[click to view]

[12] PHILSTAR online (06/08/2013): "Marcventures Mining boosts capital to P1B" (accessed 23/05/2015)
[click to view]

Media Links

Video showing Marcventures' operations in spite of MGB's suspension order in 2014
[click to view]

Video showing siltation caused by Marcventures mining
[click to view]

Other Documents

[1] MGB document on mining concessions in 2014 Source: DENR
[click to view]

Barricades stopped the company (PHOTOS BY VANESSA L. ALMEDA) Source:
[click to view]

Mining site Source:
[click to view]

Mining activities Source:
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Meta Information
ContributorA. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim "dot" scheidel "at" gmail "dot" com
Last update26/05/2015