[Press Release] Large mining corporations in the Philippines acting with impunity -ATM
Large mining corporations in the Philippines acting with impunity
Groups and supporters from Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) gathered yesterday to denounce mining corporations’ impunity outside of the offices of mining corporations like Philex, Nickel Asia, Sagittarius Mines and Barrick Gold.
ATM, a coalition of more than one hundred organizations, and part of the TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA campaign, said we are critical with these mining companies based on experiences of many mining affected communities supported by many studies have found that they are plundering the country’s mineral reserves without any consideration for the communities or the environment.
“Marcopper, Philex, Nickel Asia, Sagittarius Mines and Barrick Gold mining corporations are linked to and responsible for tragedies, repression and violence in the areas where they operates. For 19 years under the Mining Act of 1995, we have witnessed outbreaks of violent attacks in mining affected communities in many mining-affected communities in Marinduque, Benguet, South Cotabato and Eastern Samar,” Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator said.
“The government has done little to investigate and prosecute those responsible. Not only did these mining companies damage the environment but they also violate people’s human rights. Community leaders have been threatened. Trumped up criminal charges (‘criminalization of human rights defenders’) have been laid against a number of community leaders,” Garganera added.
“In the case of Marcopper, Marinduqueños are convinced the case we filed against Placer Dome Inc. (now Barrick Gold) in US on October 4, 2005 is probably the last major chance to seek justice. For 30 years, they have operated in the island with seeming impunity, as to have damaged the Calancan Bay with mine tailings.” Beth Manggol, Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MaCEC).
In August 2012, Philex’s Padcal tailings pond spill of 20-million metric tons of mine waste. Rehabilitation was concluded this month but did not clean up the Balog and Agno River; while most adversely affected communities are not compensated. The Php 1 billion fine that was paid by Philex did not include compensation for downstream communities of NAPOCOR.
Garganera further said “Sagittarius Mines’ mining investment in South Cotabato continue to cause injustice in indigenous peoples communities. Due to the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, community leaders and their families have been murdered and more of them are threatened by the militarization in the area.”
Tampakan and nearby communities are militarized allegedly to protect the mining investments there. On October 18, 2012, tribal Blaan mother, Juvy Capion and her two sons John and Jordan were killed in what the Philippine Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion considered as “operational lapses”.
The killing of Capion is linked to the Blaan tribe’s defense of their ancestral land in Tampakan against the mining company Sagittarius Mines Inc-Xstrata-Glencore that operates in the boundaries of Tampakan, South Cotabato and Davao del Sur.
While, Nickel Asia owns several mining companies. Their investments and operations in Eastern Visayas, Southern Palawan, and the CARAGA Region cause irreversible damages to the environment, ATM cited.
Nickel Asia was selected as private sector development partner for the post-Yolanda rehabilitation efforts in Eastern Samar, a policy that was openly opposed by ATM.
“While these mining companies make a big profit from the country’s resources, majority of Filipinos continue to live in poverty with no schools, no hospitals and other entitlements. This situation cannot be allowed to continue,” said Garganera.
This week–dubbed “Mining Hell Week” –as a time of reckoning of the tragedies and the irreversible damage mining activities have continuously inflicted on communities since the enactment of Mining Act of 1995. ATM led various actions including a caravan to different government agencies and the House of Representatives calling for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and enactment of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).
March 12, 2014
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