MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Philex Mining Is Unacceptable In Zamboanga Del Norte

Published by MAC on 2006-03-31
Source: DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues


DCMI Mining update

31st March 2006

Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte – The Municipal Council of Rizal has vowed to find another way of preventing Philex Gold Philippines, a subsidiary of Anglo-American Mining Corporation, from pursuing mining exploration, according to Municipal Secretary Joy Anghag.

The Municipal Council, in a regular session was disappointed by the reply from Region 9 Director of the Mines and Geo-Science Bureau (MGB), Constancio Paye, stating that his office could not refuse approval of Philex's mining application. The letter states “This office is the agency of the government charged with the enforcement of mining laws, rules and regulations. Hence, we cannot refuse any application for mining whenever the applicant meets all the requirements and possesses none of the disqualifications for the mining contract”.

Ms. Anghag read the MGB reply before the council members, and noted their dismay over the contents of the letter, as the Municipal Council had passed a resolution on December 1 2005, requesting the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to deny the application of Philex Mining for exploration permit of gold, copper and other minerals in Rizalina Hills. The Region 9 office of the MGB received the said resolution on January 11 this year and sent its reply to the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Rizal, dated January 23.

The Rizal LGU is unhappy with the MGB's reply, and has vowed to look at other ways to prevent Philex Gold Philippines, aka Philex Mining, from pursuing exploration activities and has called on the provincial government here to act further on this matter.

Last week, the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) office in Cagayan de Oro accidentally saw the request of Philex Mining for approval from the Region 9 office of the MGB for their mining activities of Sibutad, Rizal and Dapitan City, all situated in the province of Zamboanga del Norte. However, the City Council of Dapitan City, also passed a resolution last year vehemently objecting to the mining exploration applied by Philex Mining, more particularly in the Municipalities of Sibutad and Rizal and Dapitan City as shown in the notice of application dated October 17 2005. The Provincial Board of the province supported and adopted the resolution of Dapitan City through board resolution no. 169 dated January 30 2006.

The provincial resolution was based on actual observations of Philex Mining's activities at Libay, Sibutad, Zamboanga del Norte - including environmental destruction and the dislocation of people’s means of living. The resolution noted that the mining site suffered massive soil erosion, with other materials from the mining site flowing into Murceillagos Bay. There were also several incidents of of flash floods and mudflows in 1996, when Philex constructed a diversionary road going to their mining areas.

The entry of Philex into the area was down to the previous Mayor of Sibutad, Benito Tolentino, but now the mayor wishes to block Philex from returning to operate, because of its failure to fulfill its initial promises of employment, economic development. He is allegedly now advocating small-scale mining under his management..

Tito Natividad Fiel Program Coordinator DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues G/F, Diocesan Pastoral Center, Sicayab, Dipolog City Philippines

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