MAC/20: Mines and Communities

London-based environmentalists clarify role for responsible mining activities

Published by MAC on 2006-09-06

London-based environmentalists clarify role for responsible mining activities

6th September 2006

Bayanihan - http://www.bayanihan.org/html/article.php/20060906185805755

International financing institutions funding mining projects in the Philippines have a significant role in ensuring responsible mining activities.

Geoff Nettleton, coordinator of Philippines Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks), a London-based environmental advocacy group, said international funding agencies should look carefully into the policies of government for indigenous peoples who are the most affected in mining activities.

Likewise, they should ensure that industries review their extracting activities and that investors would conduct meaningful consultations leading to broad community acceptance.

Nettleton made the statement at the "Forum on the international mining industry in the Philippines" held Monday at the Grand Men Seng hotel. The forum was initiated by Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM) and PIPLinks.

He said the World Bank for instance, should not provide funding assistance to companies which are not sensitive to the prerequisites of responsible mining to protect the people and the environment.

The World Bank should also ensure that funding intended for directly affected communities in mining development projects is delivered, he added.

Nettleton said claims that there are trillions of dollars in value for mining here in the Philippines are misleading.

He explained that in order to see if a mine creates a profit, the cost of extracting must be taken into account against its market and the companies have to pay for all the needed expenses for people and environment protection.

"The Philippines has much mineralized lands but it does not have much mineral deposits," he said.

Countries that depend on mining are experiencing a sluggish development compared to those who are focusing on other investments, Nettleton said.

The national government has been pushing the mining industry of the country, saying aside from generating additional revenues, it would also create more jobs.

But according to Nettleton, such statement is also misleading because mining investors employ only a few workers as they have enough facilities to do the business activity.

Founded in 1992, PIPLinks was created in response to requests for support from Philippine indigenous people's organizations. The organization is based in the United Kingdom which works on the same issues globally, AFRIM said.

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