LRC-Luzon Regional Office

Friday, March 02, 2007

02 March 2007



Shanta Martin, the Mining Ombudsperson of Oxfam Australia is here in Manila to personally conduct her own observation on the situation within the communities where mining companies from Australia are operating.

Among the companies are:

  1. Oceana Gold and its subsidiary Climax Arimco Mining Corp/Australasian Philippines Mining Corp (CAMC/APMI) in Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya;
  2. Formerly Australian-listed Placer Dome/Marcopper Mining Corp. and now Barrick Gold in Marinduque; and
  3. Lafayette Mining Limited in Rapu-rapu Albay.

Oxfam Australia wants to investigate community complaints against these Australian mining firms which often claim that their projects have social acceptability and have complied with Philippine laws. The mining companies claims are contrary to what Oxfam Australia has been hearing from various community, environmental and cause oriented groups here in the Philippines.

The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth International (LRC-KsK/FoEI) is the network partner of Oxfam Australia here in the Philippines who takes the lead role in forwarding the advocacy of these communities against the destructive operation of large-scale transnational mining companies entering into the Philippines.

LRC-KsK/FoEI serves as the counsel for the Peoples Organisations who are opposed to the abuses of these mining companies. The lawyers of LRC represent the Didipio Earth Savers Multi Purpose Association (DESAMA) in Didipio and the Local Government of Kasibu against CAMC-APMI and the case of the people of Mogpog against Placer Dome/Marcopper which will start its pre-trial hearing on March 13, 2007.

In the case of Didipio, up until now CAMC/APMI has not been able to secure or obtain the necessary Local Government consent for the project, specifically from the people of baranggay Didipio and the local municipal council.

At present, CAMC-APMI are threatening the landowner-farmers to forcibly sell their lands thru the help of some government agencies. They are saying that they have the right to exercise the sovereign power of eminent domain by virtue of approval from the national government through the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) signed during the time of President Ramos.

Cases are now filed in court by the people of Didipio contesting the mining project as it would greatly harm their agricultural village. The local municipal council of Kasibu headed by Mayor Tayaban also filed an injunction case against the project on the grounds that CAMC-APMI did not seek the consent and approval of the local government.

In Marinduque, the people are rejoicing in the recent development of the DE-LISTING of the SAN ANTONIO COPPER MINING PROJECT from the 24 priority mining sites but there remains a lot of work to be done for the rehabilitation of the environment and to atone for the physical damage to the people brought by Placer Dome/Marcopper. Victims of the disaster are still suffering and awaiting the conclusion of the cases filed against the mining company for indemnification.

Lafayette Mining Limited in Rapu-rapu Albay is another case of how destructive and deceptive large-scale mining can be. Reports say that communities in Rapu-rapu and nearby villages now suffer the series of toxic spills from Lafayette. Despite all these incidents the DENR and Secretary Angelo Reyes granted Lafayette a permanent operation approval after a “moro-moro” test-run. A fact finding mission and Task Force was formed to monitor and investigate the spills and operation of Lafayete but its findings were dismissed by the government. They even discredit the integrity of the people who conducted the investigation headed by Bishop Bastes.

LRC Luzon Regional office is hosting Shanta Martin’s visit here in the Philippines. We will accompany her to the communities and will be in charge of her itinerary.

For further inquiries you may contact us at these numbers:

LRC Luzon Regional Office : (02) 434 4079

Ronald/Campaigns Paralegal : 0917 544 1040

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