MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Gov't Decision On Rapu-rapu Mine Reopening "economically, Environmentally, And Morally-bankrupt"

Published by MAC on 2007-02-08

Gov't decision on Rapu-Rapu mine reopening "economically, environmentally, and morally-bankrupt"

DEFEND PATRIMONY! PRESS RELEASE

8th February 2007

DENR has activated an environmental time bomb with Lafayette mine reopening The Bishop of Sorsogon, Rapu-Rapu community leaders, and environmental organizations united under the DEFEND PATRIMONY! alliance today condemned the government's decision to reopen the open-pit mine of Lafayette Philippines Inc. (LPI) in Rapu-Rapu, Albay to full-scale commercial operations, warning that the DENR has unleashed a multi-billion peso environmental time bomb and an impending social disaster in the environmentally-critical island.

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes condemned the decision of the DENR Secretary Angelo Reyes, as having "utter and blasphemous disregard for the findings and recommendations issued by official investigatory bodies, particularly the Rapu-Rapu Fact Finding Commission (RRFM)".

"I vehemently object to Sec. Reyes' decision. I believe that everything about the Lafayette project is still defective. Rapu-Rapu people will stage demonstrations to condemn this decision of the DENR on February 11 and 12," the indignant Church leader said.

Bishop Bastes castigated the DENR Sec Reyes and LPI for "completely casting the people's welfare aside and coldly disregarding the general interest, safety and livelihood of the local population just to appease foreign mining companies and implement the government's economically bankrupt mining program".

"Based on the previous mining operation of Lafayette, the Commission has found that Lafayette is an irresponsible mining corporation and company's mining project is economically disadvantageous to the government. The DENR decision contradicts our recommendation to issue a mining moratorium and suspend mining permits in the Rapu-Rapu in order to comprehensively study and address the issue of ecological conservation and the issue of Acid Mind Drainage (AMD) problem in a fragile small island ecosystem as well as the issue economic contribution of the Lafayette project," Bishop Bastes pointed out.

"It's an anti-people and environmentally-destructive decision. The people of Rapu-Rapu are already so traumatized and deprived by the damage left by the HIXBAR mining company and the previous mine spills of Lafayette, where the land utilized by its operations has turned denuded, barren, acidic, and unproductive. Lafayette's large-scale mining operations will cause more tragedies and devastation in the island. Through and through the government have revealed how it advance and defend the interest of foreign mining corporations such as Lafayette at the expense of our people and the environment," says Defend Patrimony! Spokesperson and geologist Trixie Concepcion.

"The mine will only aggravate poverty among the people. Rich opportunities for agricultural development will be obliterated by open-pit mining, forest denudation, landslides, and massive soil erosion. Rapu-Rapu's abundant marine life will also be gradually destroyed, as the cyanide contamination, fish kills demonstrate, and the people's livelihood will be eventually wiped out. DENR has started to unleash an environmental time bomb with the full commercial operation of Lafayette.," she continued.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the decision of DENR Secretary Angelo Reyes to allow Lafayette to continue its mining operations," Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of environmental activist group Kalikasan-PNE. "The DENR has completely ignored the people's strong opposition against the project and the negative impacts that Lafayette has caused to the people of Rapu-rapu and other nearby municipalities. How can the DENR utterly disregard the community displacements, cyanide contamination, fish kills, landslide, militarization, and human rights violations experienced by the local people resulting from the entry and operation of Lafayette? This only shows how indifferent and callous the Arroyo administration and DENR Sec Reyes are to the plight of our people. The people have no recourse but to continue and intensify their struggle and protest actions to drive out Lafayette in their island," Bautista said.

References:

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes - 09177912604
Trixie Concepcion, Defend Patrimony – 09158507394
Clemente Bautista, Kalikasan-PNE – 09283448797
DEFEND PATRIMONY! Movement Against Mining Liberalization, Plunder, and Destruction
# 26 Matulungin St. Central District, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Landline: 924-8756 Email: dpatrimony@gmail.com

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