MAC: Mines and Communities

Environmental Activists Storm Denr To Protest Lafayette Mine Re-opening

Published by MAC on 2007-02-09
Source: KALIKASAN-PNE ()

Environmental activists storm DENR to protest Lafayette mine re-opening

KALIKASAN-PNE PRESS RELEASE

9th February 2007

Bicolanos launch international campaign to pressure Lafayette's bank financiers to stop support

Environmental activists from Kalikasan-Peoples' Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE) stormed the DENR Main Office in Quezon City this morning to condemn DENR Secretary Angelo Reyes' decision to issue a Permanent Lifting Order (PLO) on the suspension of Lafayette Philippines Inc (LPI), paving the way for full commercial operations of its Polymetallic Mining Project in Rapu-rapu, Albay.

The protesters shaved their heads to dramatize the impending environmental destruction and massive resource depletion that will happen once Lafayette resumes full commercial operations in the island.

"We condemn Sec. Reyes for allowing Lafayette to resume large-scale mining operation in Rapu-rapu. The Arroyo administration and the DENR are courting more disasters with such decisions. Like what happened before in Rapu-rapu and other mining-affected communities in the country, Bicolanos should brace for more frequent and widespread soil erosions, toxic contamination, mine wastes, water depletion and marine degradation as a result of Lafayette Mining's open-pit operations," said Kalikasan-PNE National Coordinator Clemente Bautista Jr. Sorsogon Catholic Bishop Arturo Bastes, who headed the Rapu-rapu Fact Finding Commission (RFFC), also sent his solidarity message condemning DENR Sec. Reyes for his "disregard for the findings and recommendations issued by official investigatory bodies, particularly the RFFC, and for refusing to heed the warnings issued by various scientists and environmental experts that the Rapu-Rapu mine is an environmental time bomb."

"I vehemently object to Sec. Reyes' decision. I believe that everything about the Lafayette project is still defective and disadvantageous not only to the residents of Rapu-rapu but to the entire Filipino nation," the indignant Church leader said.

Rapu-Rapu residents are also circulating an international petition addressed at the consortium of Lafayette Mining's financiers, urging them to terminate financial support.

"To further expose and oppose Lafayette mining, we already started getting signatures and support for our international petition to the bank financiers of Lafayette such as ABN-Amro of Netherlands, Standard Chartered of United Kingdom and ANZ of Australia to stop their financial support to the polymetallic mining project of Lafayette. As of now, we have already got almost 400 signatures from Rapu-rapu and hundreds more here in National Capital Region. These are expected to reach thousands more as the petition-signing continues next week. By the hour, dozens of international organizations, particularly in Europe, are also signing up to support our petition," said Antonio Casetas, a leader of Sagip Isla, Sagip Kapwa, a local Rapu-Rapu alliance opposing the project.

Protest actions are also expected to escalate throughout the Bicol region as the local resistance to the Rapu-Rapu mine regathers its forces, he said.

"We will also stage a community action on February 11 and 12 here in Rapu-rapu and Legazpi City, Albay as immediate response to the pro-foreign and anti-environment decision of DENR," Mr Casetas adds.

CLEMENTE BAUTISTA
National Coordinator

Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE)
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy, Central, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756 Fax No. +63-2-9209099
Email: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com

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