MAC: Mines and Communities

Denr Appeals To Npa To Drop Threats Vs Mining Firms

Published by MAC on 2007-08-23
Source: Malaya

DENR appeals to NPA to drop threats vs mining firms

Malaya -

23rd August 2007

ENVIRONMENT Secretary Lito Atienza on Wednesday appealed to communist rebels not to resort to violence in dealing with the reported abuses of mining companies operating in the country.

He said he is ready to listen to complaints by local residents against mining firms.

Atienza made the appeal in reaction to the pronouncement of the New People's Army that its next target would be mining sites that have been the subject of complaints by local communities and environmental groups.

"We hope that they do not resort to any unjustifiable action that will put the benefits (from mining activities to waste)," Atienza told reporters during a briefing. "Why would they do that? If they are out to help the people, especially the locals, they should also be very cautious."

"If there are complaints, we probably have to look at them. There might really be abuses (on the part of mining companies). We'll take note of what the NPA is claiming," he said.

"I will always be open to addressing and really satisfying the local concerns because they know best what the truth is since they are the locals. They are the ones seeing the abuses on the mountains, at the mining sites. They are the ones who see when the streams are being poisoned, when streams are destroyed because of carelessness," he said.

"I'd like to put up a very vibrant equation where the sectors are given an opportunity to air (their side). Then it's our opportunity to listen," he added.

Apart from the purported destruction caused by mining operations on the environment, anti-mining groups have also complained about the alleged displacement of members of indigenous groups from their homes once mining is undertaken in these areas. Atienza said security to threatened mining companies will be provided on a case-to-case basis.

He noted that "things are looking very well for the country" with regard to the revitalization of the mining industry. The government has 23 priority mining projects that are expected to result in $8 billion in investments up to 2015.

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