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Political issues involving the nickel ore trade

Posted on: 7 November 2016

Petar Modev, Senior Loss Prevention Executive at UK P&I Club, and the Club’s local correspondent (Pandiman Philippines) provide an update on the risks in transporting nickel ore from the Philippines: “Nickel ore cargo originates principally in the Southern region of the Philippines, where it is loaded at Mindanao, but loading areas are private enterprises and at present shippers/mines are not allowing any access to these facilities.

“It is difficult for foreign experts to currently travel to the area, as most Embassies have strict travel warnings about going to the region. There are numerous terrorist groups operating in the area, with bombings and kidnappings and the death of one Canadian mine manager, while Philippine military forces are at war with several factions.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to south-west Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of ongoing terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups. The FCO also advises against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao for the same reasons.

“A bomb attack on a market in Davao City, Mindanao, killed more than a dozen people on 2 September 2016. The FCO already advises against all but essential travel to eastern Mindanao, including Davao City, and against all travel to the rest of Mindanao.

“As a result of this unrest, the Philippines government has declared a ‘state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao’ so anyone who does need to visit the area should expect heightened security measures at airports and other major transport hubs, and should co-operate with the Philippine authorities and allow extra time to pass through security.

“A further significant issue in the region has been Philippine Government’s decision to suspend export licences for nickel ore mines, due to environmental issues. In a recent statement, the government declared: ‘We have had mining in this country for over 100 years and until now we don’t even have one rehabilitated mine, just gaping holes, destroyed rivers and children with brain disease’.”

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