MAC: Mines and Communities

Global protests greet Oceanagold on World Indigenous Peoples' Day

Published by MAC on 2019-08-12
Source: Kalikasan, MiningWatch Canada, UCA (2019-08-09)

For earlier posting, please see: International demands to eject Oceanagold 

On World Indigenous People’s Day Global protests held against ‘ethnocide’ of Oceanagold mine in Philippines

Kalikasan PNE Press Release

9 August 2019

Indigenous peoples alongside national and international organizations
held simultaneous rallies in Australia, El Salvador, Canada, and the
Philippines calling for the non-renewal of the large-scale gold and
copper mining concession of Australian-Canadian owned Oceanagold in
Nueva Vizcaya.The global protest was held in commemoration of the
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

The campaign against OceanaGold denounced the 25 years of environmental
destruction and exploitation threatening ethnocide against indigenous
communities in the Philippines. Tuwali Ifugao and Bugkalot indigenous
peoples reside in the mining-affected communities in Didipio, Kasibu,
Nueva Vizcaya and have faced decades of division and displacement

“The years of exploitation and the environmental destruction that
Oceanagold’s mining caused has earned the ire of the community,
environmental advocates, and even the local government officials. The
ongoing barricade is a testament to the people’s objection to this
Canadian company's attempt to extend their plunder of Didipio's mineral
reserves,” said Douglas Booker, General Secretary of the International
Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines Canada (ICHRP Canada).

Canadian support groups have assembled two actions in Canada, one in
Ottawa outside the Prime Minister’s office, and one in Vancouver in
front of the OceanaGold office where they will submit a petition letter
asking OceanaGold to pull out their operations in the Philippines.

On June 20, 2019, the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Government declared the
operation of OceanaGold illegal. On July 1, indigenous people put up a
people’s barricade hindering the operation of the company. On July 25,
the Regional Trial Court in Nueva Vizcaya junked the petition of
Oceanagold to allow their operations and declare unlawful the provincial
government’s stoppage order.

Because of these legal debacles and local protests, OceanaGold declared
full suspension of its mining operation in the province. As of August 8,
OceanaGold’s stock market value has dropped by 23% since the start of
the year.

Human rights violations

“In our recently concluded national solidarity and fact-finding mission,
we found numerous rights violations were experienced by the residents at
the barricade such as red-tagging, surveillance, intrusions in their
homes, as well as threats of dispersal and harm against the barricade.
Oceanagold must be held accountable for its mounting human rights
atrocities,” said Leon Dulce of National Coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

This is not the first time Oceanagold has figured in human rights
violations. Kalikasan PNE noted that from 2007 to 2018 various rights
violations were recorded such as lack of free, prior, and informed
consent (FPIC), forced demolitions, pollution of rivers, unjust
conditions of workers, illegal arrests, and red-tagging.

The group also furthered that the entire Filipino people’s sovereign
rights to their natural resources have been undermined by Oceanagold.
Company data revealed that some 87 billion pesos worth of copper, gold,
and silver were mined by Oceanagold from 2013 to 2018, while only 4.7
billion pesos or only 5.4% were provided in salaries, taxes, and
development projects ito the provincial and national government of the
Philippines.

A protest action and submission of petitions against Oceanagold to the
Philippine consulate was also organized in Cabanas Department in El
Salvador, where its communities also faced threats to their sovereign
water and mineral resources from Oceanagold.

“For a long time organizations from the Philippines has supported the
people of El Salvador in a gigantic battle that led to a defeat against
OceanaGold mining corporation at the World Bank's International Centre
for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) tribunal in 2016, and to
the eventual prohibition of large-scale mining in El Salvador in 2017.
We are giving back our solidarity to the people of Nueva Vizcaya to
their success of mounting a people's barricade against OceanaGold. We
are asking the Philippine government to listen to their people and deny
OceanaGold a new lease to deplete mineral resources and pollute the
waters of the Philippines,” said Pedro Cabezas of International Allies
against Mining in El Salvador who organized a protest action in front of
the Philippine Consulate in El Salvador.

“We reiterate our calls on the United Nation Human Rights Council (UN
HRC) to investigate Oceanagold for its plethora of violations of
environmental, civil-political, socio-economic, and other human rights.
We demand President Duterte to fully reject Oceanagold’s FTAA renewal
application to end the continuing mining injustices they face,” ended
Dulce.

The Global Day of Action against Oceanagold Mining Corporation was
organized by Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan)
Katribu, Sandugo Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self
Determination, International People’s Conference on Mining (IPCM), Yes
to Life, No to Mining (YLNM) Southeast Asia, Defend Patrimony Alliance,
and International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) Commission 19;
Spirit of Eureka, Australian Action for Peace and Development in the
Philippines (APDP), Migrante Australia, Philippines Australia Solidarity
Action (PASA); International Allies against Mining, Central American
Alliance against Mining in El Salvador; and Mining Watch Canada,
Anakbayan Ottawa, International Coalition for Human Rights in the
Philippines (ICHRP) Canada, the Ontario Committee for Human Rights in
the Philippines, Mining Justice Network, Canada.

For reference:

Leon Dulce
0917 562 6824
leon@kalikasan.net
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment

Douglas Booker
oug.nona1978@gmail.com
International Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines Canada (ICHRP
Canada)

Pedro Cabezas
stopesmining@gmail.com
International Allies against Mining in El Salvador


Protests mark international tribal peoples' day

Activists say attacks on tribal people in Philippines are linked to
opposition to 'destructive development projects'

UCA News

9 August 2019

Manila - Activists marked the International Day of the World’s
Indigenous Peoples with demonstrations in several cities around the
world to raise awareness over alleged threats to tribal communities
brought about by "destructive development projects."

In Manila, hundreds of tribal people, pro-environment and human rights
activists, braved monsoon rains as they marched in the streets to
denounce alleged attacks on tribal people who voice opposition to
projects affecting their communities.

Kerlan Fanagel, spokesman of the tribal group Sandugo, said the
government should "listen to the cries of tribal people" and stop
programs "that aim to evict us from our ancestral lands."

According to Katribu, an alliance of Philippine tribal groups, at least
59 tribal people have been killed since 2016 when President Rodrigo
Duterte came to power.

Katribu spokeswoman, Kakay Tolentino, claimed those who resist
"aggressive development projects" are being intimidated, harassed, and
killed.

On Aug. 6, a human rights advocate who works in a tribal community in
the northern Philippines was shot outside his house in Lagawe, in Ifugao
province.

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance said the attack on Brandon Lee, a
37-year-old paralegal volunteer for the Ifugao Peasant Movement, was "an
attempt to silence" those who speak for the rights of tribal communities.

Call to end mining operations

Simultaneous protests were held in Australia, El Salvador, and Canada on
Aug. 9 to call for the non-renewal of a large-scale gold and copper
mining concession in the Philippines' Nueva Vizcaya province.

The demonstrations denounced what has been described as "25 years of
environmental destruction and exploitation" that allegedly threatens
ethnocide against tribal communities in the Philippines.

"The years of exploitation and the environmental destruction mining has
caused has earned the ire of the community, environmental advocates, and
even the local government officials," said Douglas Booker, general
secretary of the International Campaign for Human Rights in the
Philippines Canada.

In June, local authorities in Nueva Vizcaya province declared the mining
operations of Australian-Canadian owned OceanaGold illegal.

On July 1, tribal people put up a "people’s barricade" to hinder
operations. On July 25, a local court threw out a company bid allow full
operations to continue.

As a result, OceanaGold has declared the full suspension of its mining
operations in the province.

As of Aug. 8, OceanaGold’s share values had dropped 23 percent since the
start of the year.

Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE, said they noted
"numerous rights violations" experienced by those manning the barricade,
such as "red-tagging," surveillance, and home invasions.

Company data revealed that some 87 billion pesos (about US$1.7 billion)
worth of copper, gold, and silver were mined by OceanaGold from 2013 to
2018, while only 4.7 billion pesos (about US$90 million) or only 5.4
percent were provided in salaries, taxes, and development projects.

Environmental activists and tribal groups have called on the United
Nations Human Rights Council to investigate OceanaGold for alleged
"violations of environmental, civil-political, socio-economic, and other
human rights" in the Philippines.


Canadians Demonstrate in Ottawa and Vancouver Today in Solidarity with
Indigenous Filipinos Peacefully Blockading Canadian Mine OceanaGold

Joint press release

OceanaGold Philippines Shut Down – No legal License and No Social License

9 August 2019

Ottawa-Vancouver – Today Canadians will take to the streets in Ottawa
and in Vancouver in a show of solidarity with indigenous Ifugao members
of the mountain village of Didipio in Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines, who
have been peacefully blockading a Canadian owned mine for over a month.
The blockade comes after years of well-documented environmental and
human rights abuses at OceanaGold’s copper-gold mine,[1] and a steady
stream of petitions and resolutions by villagers and elected leaders of
Didipio to stop the mine’s operations.

The day after OceanaGold’s 25-year license lapsed, on June 20, 2019, the
elected village leadership of Didipio signed Resolution 59 directing
OceanaGold “to stop its operations” as its permit had expired. Governor
Carlos Padilla of Nueva Vizcaya issued a restraining order on June 25,
to stop OceanaGold from mining, which was supported by the Mayor of the
municipality where the mine is located and by the elected leadership of
Didipio.

As OceanaGold initially refused to stop mining, even after the governor
had issued his restraining order, Didipio villagers blockaded the mine’s
entry road on July 1. Their action suspended truck movement and stopped
mining, although the company continues to process ore at the site.
OceanaGold sought injunctive relief, but on July 25 the Regional Trial
Court denied OceanaGold’s petition noting that the company’s license had
in fact ceased to exist as of June 20, 2019, and that President Duterte
had not approved the company’s application for a renewal of the permit.

OceanaGold’s efforts to renew its permit started in 2018 and were
shrouded in secrecy. At no time did the company start an open and
transparent consultation with the elected leadership of Didipio, or with
the indigenous people of Didipio, most of whom are Ifugao, to seek their
Free Prior and Informed Consent. The blockade is a clear indication that
OceanaGold not only does not have a legal permit to mine, but also does
not have social acceptability, or a social license, to mine.

As Canadians, we stand in solidarity with the people of Didipio who have
suffered enough in the shadow of OceanaGold’s mine. We call on
OceanaGold to stop seeking a permit to mine and to return the land to
the people of Didipio in an orderly transition. We also call on the
Canadian Government to live up to its duty to protect human rights by
not prioritizing OceanaGold’s commercial interests over those of the
people of Didipio.

Contacts:

Kristine Castanos - International League of People’s Struggles – Canada

ilps.canada@gmail.com

Nicole Sudiacal - Anakbayan Ottawa - nicole.sudiacal@gmail.com

Elizabeth Dollaga – Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights -
edollaga@yahoo.com

Catherine Coumans – MiningWatch Canada – catherine@miningwatch.ca

[1] OceanaGold Corporation is the Canadian-based parent company of
OceanaGold Philippines Inc. It is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange
with headquarters in Melbourne and a corporate office in British Columbia.

OceanaGold operates the Didipio project through wholly-owned
subsidiaries in Singapore, the Netherlands and the Philippines.

OceanaGold (Philippines), Inc. owns 92% of the Didipio Mine.

 

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