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Citinickel's Toronto Narra mine in Palawan, Philippines


The Toronto mine, located in Narra municipality, Palawan, is one of the two mining concessions hold by Citinickel Mining and Development Corporation (CMDC) (see “related conflicts” below). The Mining Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) for the Toronto mine was granted on March 01, 2007 and covers an area of 770ha in Palwan [1]. Palawan has a special law, the Strategic Environment Plan for Palawan Act RA 7611 that establishes a development framework in the province and should regulate economic activities, such as mining, in environmentally critical areas.

On November 25, 2012, a large silt spill occurred due to lapses of the mine foreman who was tasked to drain water from one pond to another. The water from the pond, containing toxic tailings, flowed into the Pinagduguan River river and irrigation canals affecting 6.8-hectares of farm lots and a fishpond. Consequently, the Mineral and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) suspended the mining operations from November 26 to December 9, 2012. CMDC had to pay penalties of 375,000 Philippine Pesos (around 8,500$) [2]. In June 2014, also Citinickel’s Pulot Sofronio mine (see related conflicts, below) caused a large silt spill, which according to environmentalist group Kalikasan PNE has led to heavy degradation of nearby rivers [3].

While the company operating both mines had promised progress and development, it brought large environmental destruction [4]. According to the local indigenous organization PKP, their required Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) for the mining sites and the related Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was obtained in violation of indigenous rights. Following the large negative impacts of Citinickel’s mining, the indigenous want them to leave the area and stop mining [4], but as part of Citinickel’s long-term development program, the company wants to acquire further mining sites in the area [1]. However, as experienced by the two Citinickel mines, there is a continuous risk of further environmental disasters, due to large mining activities in the region.

As a sign of protest, on March 23, 2015, thousands of Palaw’ans marched in Sofronio Espanola, to oppose the mining operations [4]. PKP, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), and other environmental groups are urging the MGB to stop the CMDC projects [5] as well as to revise the Mining Act of 1995 [4].

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Citinickel's Toronto Narra mine in Palawan, Philippines
State or province:Souther Palawan
Location of conflict:Barangay San Isidro, Municipality of Narra
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Tailings from mines
Land acquisition conflicts
Mineral ore exploration
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Rare metals
Iron ore
nickel, chromite

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The Narra nickel mine is one of two mining concessions hold by the Citinickel Mining and Development Corporation (CMDC) in Palawan; approved by the MGB on 01.03.2007. The second mining site is the Pulot nickel mine, located in Sofronia Espanola town, Palawan (see related conflicts, below). Citinickel holds in total mining concession over 2,176ha [8].

In 2011, Citinickel was reported to have invested 5.146 billion Philippine Pesos in their mining operations (around 1.16 billion USD) [7].

The mining concession (MPSA) in Narra covers a land area of 770ha ha [1].

During 2011, around 1 million tons of nickel ore, produced at both mining sites, were shipped. Target for 2012 was stated to be 4 million tons [6]. Shipped nickel ore has been of low grade (1%/ton) with 48% iron content [6].

CMDC is a subsidiary of Oriental Peninsula Resources Inc. As of March 31, 2014, the main shareholders (>5%) of Oriental Peninsula have been Citimax Group Inc. (33%), Golden Spin Realty, Inc. (29%), PCD Nominee Corp. Filipino (27%), PCD Nominee Corp. Non-Filipino (5%) and Billion Apex Development Ltd. (5%) [1]. In 2013, also King Crown Group Limited and Fuying Holdings Limited were reported to have invested in Oriental Peninsula [1].

According to reports released in 2013 by Oriental Peninsula [1], the PCD Nominee Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Philippine Depository and Trust Corporation, Inc. (PDTC). Major capital players involved in the the PCD Nominee Corporation are the Philippine Stock Exchange; (31.75%), Bankers Association of the Philippines (31.75%), Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (10%), Development Bank of the Philippines (10%), Investment House Association of the Philippines (6.5%), Social Security System (5%) and Citibank N.A. (5%). Major banks involved in the PDTC are Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corp. LTD (15.64%); and Deutsche Bank Manila (12.11%).

The company has planned to construct a smelting plant in Palawan to process their nickel ores from their Palawan operations. Investment size for this was reported to amount to 10 million USD [1].

Project area:770
Level of Investment:1,160,000,000 (as of 2011 for all Citinickels mining operations in Palwan)
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/03/2007
Company names or state enterprises:Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation (CMDC) from Philippines
Oriental Peninsula Resources Group Inc. (ORE) (ORE) from Philippines
Citimax Group Inc. from Philippines
Golden Spin Realty, Inc. from Philippines
Billion Apex Development Ltd. from Philippines
King Crown Group Limited from Hong Kong SAR, China
Fuying Holdings Limited from Hong Kong SAR, China
PCD Nominee Corporation from Philippines
Philippine Depository and Trust Corporation, Inc. (PDTC) (PDTC) from Philippines - investment
Relevant government actors:Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Republic of Philippines
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
International and Finance InstitutionsThe Philippine Stock Exchange Inc. (PSE) from Philippines - capital markets
Bankers Association of the Philippines from Philippines - banking, finance
Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) (FINEX) from Philippines - finance
Investment House Association of the Philippines from Philippines - finance
Social Security System Philippines from Philippines
Citibank Philippines from Philippines - banking, finance
Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corp. LTD from Hong Kong SAR, China - banking, finance
Deutsche Bank (DB) from Germany
Development Bank of the Philippines from Philippines - banking, finance
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Indigenous organization Pinagtibukang Kaundang-undangan it Palaw’an (PKP);
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM);
Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE);
Bigkis at Lakas ng Katutubo sa Timog Katagalugan (BALATIK);
Advocates of Science & Technology for the People (AGHAM);
Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan sa Pilipinas, Defend Patrimony Alliance;
Task Force-Justice for Environment Defenders;
Katribu Party-list and the Kalikasan Party-list, and others.

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Indigenous Palaw'an
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization: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
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Air pollution, Soil erosion, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow)
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Other Health impactsExposure to contaminated environmental resources
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Militarization and increased police presence


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
After a temporary suspension and a fine to be paid by the company, the project was allowed to continue.
Proposal and development of alternatives:Local organisation PKP wants to stop mining in the areas. They have further joined countrywide calls to stop the Mining Act of 1995.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project goes on.

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA)

Strategic Environment Plan for Palawan Act RA 7611

Philippine Mining Act of 1995

Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004

[4] Bulatlat online (26/03/2015) "Palawan indigenous people call for stop to Citinickel mines" (accessed 15/04/2015)

[1] Oriental Peninsula Company website (accessed 15/04/2015)

[2] GMA News online (13/06/2014): "MGB suspends Citinickel Mines operations in Palawan" (accessed 16/04/2015)

[3] KALIKASAN (03/12/2012): "Death of two rivers in Palawan imminent if Citinickel mining continues"

[6] The Bellwether report by MAFI (29/06/2012).

[7] The Philippine Star (23/08/2011): "Investments jump 53% to P369 B in Jan-July"

Rappler (Jan 21, 2013) on the incident

[5] ATM Press release (12/06/2014) :"Environmental group urges MGB to cancel CMDC operations in Palawan"

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Video: Even the soul of Indigenous People is threatened by Mining

News report "Citinickel mines, pinagmumulta ng DENR dahil sa oil spill sa Palawan"

Meta information

Contributor:A. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Last update18/08/2019





Villagers protest against Citinickel mines