MAC: Mines and Communities

Environmental Groups Bewail Lafayette's Commercial Operations

Published by MAC on 2007-01-15
Source: PNE ()

Environmental Groups bewail Lafayette's commercial operations in the absence of full safety & environmental guarantees

PNE Press Release

15th January 2007

"Lafayette's announcement of planned shipment of almost 2,670 metric tons of copper and zinc concentrate from their 5 months test run production is added insult to injury. In the first place, this volume is no way incidental

production as claimed by Lafayette and the DENR. The worth of this volume is estimated to equal if not exceed the gross revenue of Lafayette of $2,444,145 during its 2005 commercial operations.," says Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of environmental activist group Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE).

According to international news reports, Lafayette is planning to ship another 1,800 tons of mineral concentrates to China, on top of the 870 they shipped last week.

"This is only the tip of the iceberg. We believe Lafayette has commercially extracted and mass produced gold, silver ores and other metallic concentrates more than what they have already declared in public. Lafayette is not allowed to operate at commercial level during their test-run operation but the DENR is allowing them to do so," Mr. Bautista added.

The granting of ore transport permit by DENR Sec. Angelo Reyes to Lafayette signifies that Lafayette can now fully operate at commercial levels even without the issuance of the Permanent Lifting Order (PLO). First, the DENR has given Lafayette a temporary lifting order (TLO) since July 2006 to test run their mining structures and environmental safeguard facilities and now DENR is allowing it to ship out and sell mineral products worth $2 million out of the country. Should not there be first a presentation that Lafayette has fully complied with all the environmental, social and economic questions regarding its mining operations? This smacks of betrayal of public trust ," says Trixie Concepcion, Defend Patrimony spokesperson and a geologist.

Defend Patrimony is a national alliance opposing the mining liberalization policies and large-scale mining project of the Arroyo administration.

"Lafayette is fast extracting and producing mineral products in Rapu-rapu Island. Lafayette reported that they only "incidentally produced" copper and zinc concentrates but we believe they have also extracted thousands of tons of gold and silver ores. It was deliberately produced by Lafayette to satisfy their previous hedge contracts to their contractors and also to generate money to pay their fast ballooning debt," Ms. Concepcion added.

According to Lafayette, it recorded a consolidated loss of $111,034,348 for the year ended 30 June 2006. The government allowed Lafayette to test its base metals facility starting July 10 until Dec. 8 last year, after two cyanide spills in October 2005. The mining plant of Lafayette was heavily damaged by Typhoon Reming that resulted to temporary closure of operation. Last week, DENR Secretary Angelo Reyes gave Lafayette a permit to transport and sell its 'incidental mineral products'.

"We condemn the move of the DENR Sec Reyes to allow Lafayette to ship out of the country our mineral resources. DENR Secretary should have confiscated the said volume of metal concentrates and ensured first the company's rigid compliance with all the issues raised upon the company," stated Mr Bautista.

"By neglecting this, Sec. Reyes has only shown how poor a manager he is of the country's precious and non-renewable mineral resources, especially allowing Lafayette to continue to devastate our environment and put our people in grave risk." Mr. Bautista stated.

KALIKASAN-PNE KALIKASAN: PEOPLES NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel./Fax; +63 (2) 924-8756;
E-mail: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com

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