KASIBU, NUEVA VIZCAYA – Ambassador Steven Robinson of Australia paid a visit to the province on Friday to “bring in more Australian investors.”
Although silent about his purpose, the visit raised wide speculation that he came to give moral support to the beleaguered OceanaGold Philippines Inc (OGPI) which operate the Didipio Gold-Copper mine here.
OGPI’s mother company OceanaGold Corporation (OGC) is headquartered in Melbourne.
The mining company is still in the process of renewing its Financial and/or Technical Assistance Agreement with the Philippine government which expired last June 20, 2019.
“He spoke highly in favor of OGPI’s continued operation in Nueva Vizcaya,” revealed Nueva Vizcaya Gov. Carlos M. Padilla when asked about the visit.
The governor has vocally expressed his opposition to mining operation in the province. Padilla was instrumental in the lobby against OGC when it acquired a mine prospect in El Salvador from Canadian miner Pacific Rim.
The project was halted when the House of Congress of El Salvador declared a mining ban.
Sources privy to the reception in honor of Ambassador Robinson told The Northern Forum that Gov. Padilla and wife Ruth articulated their anti-mining sentiments.
Before the meeting, Ambassador Robinson dropped by the Didipio mine where he was welcomed by OGPI personnel.
Technical personnel and managers gave the Ambassador an exclusive mine tour.
They also delivered technical overview of their best practices.
“We were so privileged when His Excellency Steven Robinson visited our mine. We proudly shared our best practices in mining, environmental stewardship and community development and our conformance to Australian mining standards,” an OGPi social media post reads.