People's Alert on the Victoria Gold Project II in the PhilippinesPublished by MAC on 2003-12-01
People's Alert on the Victoria Gold Project II
Published by the Save the Abra River Movement (STARM)
December 1, 2003
Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation (Lepanto) announced that it will start production under its Victoria Gold Project II starting April 2004 (Philippine Star).
Let us not be misled.
We have nothing to gain from Victoria Gold II.
Victoria Gold II will affect an additional 70,000 individuals outside of Mankayan living in the following municipalities: Buguias, Bauko, Bontoc and Tadian.
This will mean that a total of 197,630 individuals (or 38,321 households) are affected by the operations of Lepanto.
The affected communities are against Victoria Gold II.
Last 19 November 2003, a public hearing on Victoria Gold II was held. The hearing was held at the CPJ Hall, within company grounds. Only one or two representatives from a few affected barangays were present. This is not a true representation of the people's voice, considering that a total of 75,914 individuals are threatened by the expansion. In fact, Barangay Colalo boycotted the hearing. There was also no representative from Barangay Balili.
Victoria Gold II will only lead to more environmental degradation
Lepanto has announced that the expected output from Victoria Gold II is 162,860 ounces of gold per year. They expect to mine 970,570 tons per year. Since only around 5 gm of gold is extracted per ton of ore, this means that almost 970,570 tons of mine waste will also be produced.
Victoria Gold II will produce at least 2,600 tons of mine waste per day!
At present, Lepanto is already producing 1,500 tons of mine waste per day. With Victoria Gold II this will double.
Victoria Gold II also means the expansion of Tailings Dam 5A.
The danger of collapse of Tailings Dam 5A will increase with the production of more tailings.
The danger for Barangay Cabitin and Colalo also increases as they continue to be the quarrying sites for filling material to be used in building up Tailings Dam 5A.
The government has made sure that only Lepanto will benefit from Victoria Gold II
While Lepanto boasts that it will invest US$ 73.4 million in Victoria Gold II, it also expects to earn US$ 47 million per year.
The Board of Investments (BOI) has declared that Victoria Gold II is a new project. It has granted Lepanto a 4-year tax holiday, extendable for another 3 years. This means that for the 7 years that Lepanto intends to mine Victoria Gold II, it will not pay a single centavo in taxes. All the government can collect is the minimal occupancy fee of P846,730.50.
This illustrates President Macapagal-Arroyo's policy of ACTIVE PROMOTION of the mining industry. Victoria Gold II is one of the 25 mining projects included under the Revitalization of the Minerals Industry Program.
In the past months, DENR has been pushing for the signing of the National Minerals Policy (NMP). It held a series of regional and national consultations where all of the speakers and majority of the participants were pro-corporate mining. Due to the strong protests against the NMP, DENR is now trying to have an Executive Order for a National Policy on Revitalizing Mining in the Philippines approved instead.
In short, the government is making it easier for mining companies to exploit our mineral reserves while trampling on the rights of indigenous peoples and peasants to their land.
Let our voices be heard!
Oppose Victoria Gold II! Clear the Abra River!
Oppose environmental destruction and people's displacement in the name of corporate profit!
Stop the plunder of ancestral lands and resources!
Oppose the National Mineral Policy!
Oppose the Mining Act of 1995!
For further information/ photo exhibits/ lectures on the contents of this pamphlet, please contact us at:
Resurrection Church Compound
No. 362 Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City
Telephone No. (074) 4422572