No demands have been received from the rebels, according to a statement from the company. While four of its staff were confirmed safe, there are no reports on the safety of Japanese construction workers at the site, the statement said.
The Tokyo-based company is investing $1.3 billion in the project to boost nickel production. Sumitomo Metal Mining said last September it planned to start operations at the mine in August 2013.
Philippine authorities said earlier today rebels raided the site in Surigao del Norte, a province in the south of the country, and held one of its managers.
Another group of rebels constructed road blocks near the area, police Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said in a mobile phone message today. Government troops have been sent to the site, Army Spokesman Major Eugenio Osias said by phone.
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