MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Environmental Activists Assail Denr's Extention Of Lafayette Test Runs As Gov't Cover-up

Published by MAC on 2006-11-09
Source: Defend Partrimony

Strike three: Environmental activists assail DENR's extention of Lafayette test runs as gov't cover-up

Defend Partrimony Press Release

9th November 2006

Environmental organizations united under the DEFEND PATRIMONY alliance today expressed "vehement objections to the triple extension of Lafayette Mining Ltd's month-long test runs in Rapu-Rapu Island, Albay", saying that the allotted period "of 90 days or three months was more than enough for the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DENR) and the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) to ascertain whether Lafayette should be allowed to continue with its operations or not".

"This is already strike three for Lafayette. This third extension only indicates that Lafayette Mining Ltd. lacks the capacity to implement environmentally-sustainable mining operations in the small island ecosystem of Rapu-Rapu," DEFEND PATRIMONY Spokesperson Trixie Concepcion said. Concepcion also expressed doubts that the basis for extension was valid.

"Lafayette said that the third TLO was granted because Typhoon Milenyo halted their plant operations for some time. This contradicts Lafayette's earlier claims printed in the Mining Journal Online and in previous reports that typhoon Milenyo caused "no damage to the (Lafayette) plant and only some superficial damage to the accommodation" and that Lafayette was "back up and running again…towards full production," she said.

"The DENR has been handling Lafayette Ltd. with kid gloves and has been giving it the red-carpet treatment before and after the two devastating cyanide mine spills. It is making a mockery out of its mandate by snubbing the RRFM's recommendations and has approved two test runs of 30 then 60 days prior to this to give Lafayette all the leeway to prove that it can qualify for the PLO. This third extension practically defeats the DENR's rationale for setting up a defined time-frame of 30 and 60 days where Lafayette's compliance with environmental, social, and technical requirements should be met," Concepcion said.

Kalikasan Peoples' Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE) National Coordinator Clemente Bautista assailed the DENR's third extension as a "cover-up for Lafayette Mining Ltd's total lack of capacity to conduct environmentally-responsible and pro-people mining operations in Rapu-rapu".

"From the start, Rapu-Rapu residents and environmentalists have been calling for an urgent and unconditional moratorium into Rapu-Rapu mining operations after scientific findings showed that large-scale mining—the kind that Lafayette is engaging in –is not feasible in the Rapu-Rapu due to the threat of acid-mine drainage and the absence of technology that could be used to contain this threat," Bautista said.

"The DENR's sluggish and snail-paced environmental monitoring systems in the case of Lafayette Mining Ltd. seems to hinge on the fact that the Rapu-Rapu polymetallic project is one of the Arroyo administration's pet programs for its mining revitalization policy directed towards other foreign mining TNCs. ," Bautista said.

Clemente called on the "DENR to finally look at the real situation, implement the called-for moratorium, and close Lafayette Ltd's operations in Rapu-Rapu once and for all".
Reference: Trixie Concepcion – 09158507394; Clemente Bautista Jr. - 09283448797

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