MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Bishops Bag Filipino Mining

Published by MAC on 2006-01-30
Source: Mining News

Bishops bag Filipino mining

by Michael Quinn

30th January 2006

CATHOLIC bishops in the Philippines have reportedly urged the Filipino Government of Gloria Arroyo to cancel mining concessions in the country, warning of environmental damage and the loss of resources to foreign mining companies. Associated Press said the 120-member Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a statement calling for a repeal of the 1995 Philippine Mining Act that allows foreign companies to own up to 100% of large mining projects.

While no names were disclosed, the newswire reported the bishops asking Arroyo to stop 24 large-scale government mining projects, citing six gold and copper mining companies.

Adding some ammunition to the bishops' claims would be the recent misadventures of Lafayette Mining at its Rapu Rapu project, where wastewater from a treatment plant was accidentally released into the sea.

However with the Philippines historically being a Catholic stronghold, some proponents of mining claim the religious order has concerns about losing its influence over its constituents with the modernisation of the country from foreign investment.

Disclosure: The reporter holds shares in a company active in the Philippines

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