MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Beyond Marinduque: Debunking Myths on Mining

Published by MAC on 2003-07-01


Beyond Marinduque: Debunking Myths on Mining

The following is a letter from LRC-KSK (Friends of the Earth - Philippines) in response to the letters earlier sent by Director Horacio Ramos of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (Philippines) and Ms. Nelia Halcon of the Philippine Chamber of Mines regarding our institution's critical stand on the issue of large scale commercial mining. It was prompted by arguments, carried by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, between NGOs on one side and comapnies and Philippines government departments on the other, on the legacy and clean-up of the Marinduque disaster (a tailings spill at the Marcopper copper mine, in March 1996), as well as more recent concerns about the environmental problems at the Lepanto-owned Mankayan gold mine.

The letter from Ms. Halcon was particularly vitricolic, accusing LRC-KSK of holding a position that would lead them to fade into oblivion, and also offered the industry defence that mining tended to take place in uninhabited areas (which judging from the large amount of community opposition to mining in the Philippines would seem to be a strange proposition). This widespread civil society opposition to mining in the Philippines has produced the Dapitan Initiative, which is mentioned below. This is a petition calling for the scrapping of the 1995 Mining Act, which gives undue consideration to the rights of mining companies, particularly international ones, over the rights of local peoples.

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