Mining firm will start releasing payments tomorrowadmin
After over a decade, 1,940 displaced workers of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. (ACMDC) will receive their separation benefits from the company starting tomorrow.
A total of P101 million has been set aside as payment to the employees, who were part of a 12,000-strong workforce of what used to be Southeast Asia’s largest copper mine.
Rodrigo Cal, assistant vice president and resident manager, said dismissed employees with family names starting with A or B will receive their payment tomorrow.
The rest will have their turn on Tuesday until Friday, June 30, based on a schedule released by the company. Those who cannot claim their separation benefits on the specified days may do so on July 1, 3 to 8.
The Philippine Stock Exchange, in a disclosure released last Friday, quoted a company official as saying that the settlement is a ”major milestone” towards the reopening of the Toledo mine operations.
Cal said they scheduled the payments to avoid being besieged by claimants jostling to be served first.
”We limit the distribution to 400 persons per day. It will be difficult to accommodate all of them at one time,” he said.
Payment will be made at the ACMDC Pelota court during office hours.
A Department of Labor and Employment official will be present to explain the terms and consequences of the settlement and to ensure that such is voluntary for both parties.
ACMDC requires the presentation of an identification card.
However, those who filed labor cases against the company and got favorable judgment will have to get theirs from the National Labor Relations Commission-Regional Arbitration Board 7, where the payments are deposited.
They will have to bring with them a legible copy of the order or decision, marriage contract, ID, and birth or baptismal certificates of their children.
Authorized representatives, on the other hand, must each bring a special power of attorney (SPA), which should be no more than a year old, aside from an ID.
If the former employee is already dead, the authorized representative must bring, aside from a SPA and an ID, a death certificate, document and affidavit declaring all living/bonafide heirs signed by all declarants, marriage contract and death, birth or baptismal certificate of heirs.
In an interview, Cal admitted that rehabilitation of the mines has yet to start and no specific date has been set yet.
And it will take 12 to 15 months after the start of rehabilitation, which includes dewatering the underground tunnels and fixing the power plant, for mining operations to begin.
He said the company has to raise $160 million for the total rehabilitation of the mining operations in Toledo, which will be operated by ACMDC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Carmen Copper Corp.
So far, he said, only $33 million has been raised.
The amount was part of the $40-million funding package with Crescent Asian Special Opportunities Portfolio, which entered into an agreement with major stockholder Alakor Corp.
At least $7 million of the amount was used to pay off company debts, which include the benefit claims of laid-off workers.
Alakor is owned by ACMDC president and chairman of the board Alfredo Ramos of the National Bookstore chain.
Cal said that of the remaining $33 million, at least $5 million has been released.
In its disclosure, the company also announced the purchase and delivery of mining equipment worth $9 million after signing a deferred payment sales agreement with Marubeni Corp. of Japan.
Initial shipment will be by November this year after a 40 percent down payment is made.
Based on a feasibility study, the Carmen Pit, with reserves of 132 million metric tons, has a mine life of 12 years.
The average future production is 108.5 million pounds of copper and 47,900 ounces of gold per year plus silver, magnetite and pyrite.
Copper mining and processing operations are in Barangay Biga, which is 450 meters above sea level, 50 kilometers by road from Cebu City, and 17 kilometers by road from Toledo City.
Ramos, in earlier interviews, said ”the mine will generate substantial foreign exchange earnings of up to $3 billion in the next 12 years.”
It is expected to provide up to 3,000 new jobs in Toledo City and nearby areas, as we as millions in tax remittances to both the national and local governments.
Before the suspension of the mining operations in 1994, ACMDC paid P634 million in annual taxes to the National Government and P11 million a year to the Toledo City Government.
At present, ACMDC is only paying P542,000 in taxes to the National Government and P183,000 to the City Government.
With the reopening of ACMDC, the Toledo City Government is expected to receive P12 million per year in taxes, the National Government with P306.252 million in taxes, and an estimated P188.5 million a year in foreign exchange generation.
Cal said that right now, ACMDC in Toledo has employed only 250 persons, 180 of whom are security guards.
The rest are electricians, plumbers, and mining engineers doing feasibility studies.
They form the skeletal crew the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau required for care and maintenance of facilities and to protect the environment, he said.