MAC: Mines and Communities

Philippine tribe submits complaint on IFC-funded mine

Published by MAC on 2011-01-17
Source: CBCP News, statement (2011-01-10)

Tribal communities in the north-east of the Philippine island of Mindanao have taken out a complaint to the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) of the World Bank's IFC.

The complaint is over funding for a proposed mining project operated by the mining junior Mindoro Resources Ltd. (which confusingly has no operations on the island of Mindoro!).

The key issue in the complaint is that, contrary to Philippine law and best practice, the free, prior, informed consent of the Mamanwa people who would be affected was not obtained.

Tribal folks denounce mining in ancestral domain

CBCP News

10 January 2011

CAGAYAN DE ORO City - The Mamanwa tribe of Agusan del Norte has denounced the encroachment of a Canadian mining company into their ancestral domain.

The tribe's leader, Bae Genoviva A. Colangan, wrote to the compliance officer/ombudsman of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), informing the company of Mindoro Resources Limited's (MRL) use of its investment for mineral exploration purposes,

In a release posted on its website, MRL disclosed that it has received Canadian $2 million from the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries.

"Through the support of our institutional shareholder base, which invested more than 50 percent of the total offering, and a new set of investors, the funds raised will allow Mindoro to press ahead with the feasibility study program into an integrated nickel project at Agata. The funds will also enable continued drilling of the exploration targets with the objective of growing the resource base to support a major new nickel project
development in the Philippines. In addition the company will review and drill test its outstanding portfolio of drill-ready gold and copper-gold prospects," said MRL president and chief executive officer Jon Dugdale in a release posted on MRL's website.

Dugdale was referring to the MRL's Agata nickel project in Barangay Bunga, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, which the Mamanwa tribe claimed as part of its ancestral domain.

In her letter to the IFC compliance officer/ombudsman, Colangan said that MRL "entered into our ancestral land without proper information and consent from us."

"They don't even respect indigenous people's right," she said.

Colangan said the tribe is against mining "because we don't want our forest to be destroyed."

"Destroying our forest will affect our daily needs" because the tribe traditionally sources its livelihood from the forest.

Mining and/or mineral exploration on the tribe's ancestral land will displace the tribesfolk, affect the tribesfolk's relationship with each other that will eventually cause the disappearance of their indigenous culture, she pointed out.

"We, the Mamanwa tribe will be directly affected as a consequence of the MRL mining company project," she added.

Her letter to IFC was also signed by 29 traditional elders and leaders of the Mamanwa tribe.

In IFC's "Summary of Proposed Investment," one entry dated June 8, 2010 said that the Agata nickel project in Agusan del Norte was originally released by IFC in September 24, 2008.

But "the project was not submitted to the IFC Board as exploration activities ceased due to the global financial crisis. In April 2010, the company restarted exploration and IFC undertook its second review."

"Mindoro Resources Ltd ("Mindoro", or the "Company") objective is to build a successful exploration and mining company in the Philippines with focus on nickel, copper and gold," the IFC SPI continued.

MRL has 75% interest in the Agata nickel laterite deposit in the Agusan del Norte.

The Agata nickel prospect has the potential to become a sizeable nickel mine with resources possibly in excess of 100 million tons at comparatively attractive nickel grades.

Agata has a NI 43-101 compliant measured and indicated resource of 36.5 million wet metric tonnes at 1.11% nickel (dry), containing 657 million pounds of nickel and 24 million pounds of cobalt. MRL also owns interests in gold, copper, and copper-gold prospects in the Surigao District, Batangas District on Luzon Island, and on Pan de Azucar Island.

"IFC equity investment will support MRL's resource drilling, feasibility and other studies, and exploration activities for its nickel, copper and gold prospects," IFC said in its SPI regarding MRL as posted on its website. (Bong D. Fabe)


Mamanwa tribe in Agusan del Norte opposes Mindoro Resources Limited's mining plan

By Nokie Calunsag

Green Mindanao Association Inc.

9 January 2011

AGUSAN DEL NORTE-Mindoro Resources Limited (MRL), a Canada-based mining company, will use the investment of International Finance Corporation (IFC) for exploration at the Agata Nickel Project in the Surigao district on Mindanao Island.

IFC claimed that it will work with MRL to ensure that exploration and any subsequent mine development is carried out in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.

The Mamanwa tribe wrote a complaint letter to the Compliance Advisor⁄Ombudsman of IFC regarding the exploration without proper consultation of MRL mining company in the ancestral land of the Mamanwa.

Tribal community members supervised by tribal chieftain Bae Genoviva A. Colangan executed a letter last December 3, 2010. The complaint letter against MRL states:

"We the Mamanwa tribes against the MRL mining company projects in the Barangay Bunga, Municipality of Jabonga, Agusan del Norte. Our complaint was completed in the following grounds ended by MRL mining company in our ancestral domain". We are outlining the following anxieties:

1. We don't want the MRL mining company to encroach in our ancestral domain, because we don't want our forest to be destroyed.

2. We don't want our area to be extracted because it will be in our one of our sacred places, which has been very important for us and our culture since time immemorial.

3. They entered into our ancestral land without proper information and consent from us.

4. They don't even respect indigenous people's right.

"We the Mamanwa tribe will [be] directly affected [by] the consequence of MRL mining company project. Destroying our natural forest will affect our daily needs". The ensuing effects are;

1. Mamanwa tribe's relationship will be in troubled.

2. There were no traditional sources of income.

3. Indigenous culture will be disappeared.

4. The right of land will be moved out.

5. Displacement of the mamanwa tribes.

Twenty-nine traditional elders and leaders of Mamanwa tribe signed the grievance letter which strongly opposes the MRL mining exploration and operation in the Mamanwa ancestral land.

Click here for the Mamanwa Complaint to IFC (PDF File)

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