Phillipines: Attacks on nickel ore mines around Surigao, Mindanao

We have received the following update from our correspondents in Philippines PANDIMAN.

There have been attacks by New People’s Army (NPA) on nickel ore mines in the area of the Port of Surigao, Mindanao.

It is a week since the attacks and there have been no further attacks to date. The areas around Surigao where loading is normally undertaken are remote and away from main mine offices and infrastructure (the three attacked were on the coast of mainland Mindanao) where operations are on deserted islands with very limited equipment. The mines which were attacked had considerable infrastructure, administration buildings, laboratories, depot for heavy equipment, in the case of TMC in the process of building a smelting plant. The rebels (NPA), hit these targets to cause financial damage to the owners of the mines, including blowing up local tugs, barges and landing craft. There have been no reports of international ships being attacked in the action. In regards to one of the attacked mines, PGMC, they have brought in additional dump trucks, backhoes and landing craft and can resume some loading operations, although limited as the mine infrastructure was bombed. The cargo on the other hand is undamaged given it resembles red earth with boulders.

Loading continues at many of the mines and at the moment all is quiet, however it would be prudent that Masters and crews of vessels loading in the area remain cautious and alert.

Last Monday demonstrated that the NPA can attack at any time, anywhere, in considerable numbers, and it is to be remembered that people were shot and killed during the attacks: the situation is a serious one. The NPA threatened more attacks, albeit to the South at the copper and gold mines.

We continue to monitor the area and keep the club and owners with vessels in the vicinity updated.

Charterers Club Surigao (pdf)