Philippines UpdatePublished by MAC on 2006-12-02
2nd December 2006
Lafayette's Rapu Rapu project is once again making headlines. Yet again it's been hit by a typhoon. While some in the press may consider this bad luck, the region is well known for typhoon damage and the scale of the storms seems to increase (with the finger of blame for this escalation pointing firmly at climate change). Will the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have the courage to pull the plug on this ill-fated project? If not, then the banks may do it anyway, as international pressure on the bank's financiers is increased.
Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes may finally be getting the message that mining has a poor public image, but his prescription (for mining investors to reach out to their host communities) may be too little too late.
Companies seem to be getting more hard-line, if the reported legal action against Bishop Maguiran and other local churchmen by TVI Pacific is anything to go by.
The House of Representatives is drafting a bill to ensure the government can claw back some of the money it has given away as incentives to the companies. Given threatened resistance from small-scale miners to any corporate take-over at Mt. Diwalwal,.and more controversy over Colet Mining's exploration in Sipalay ,it looks like the government and companies have their work cut out to persuade an extremely reluctant public.
However, none of this has stopped the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, marching up to Manila to 'talk-up' British investment in this on-going struggle.