Mindoro Nickel Project MPSA ReinstatedPublished by MAC on 2004-03-24
The people of Mindoro have fought a long and hard battle to protect critical river systems and the indigenous rights of the Mangyan people living in the mountains where Crew wants to position this mine. They had won a critical victory in November of 2001 when President Arroyo upheld the revocation of their exploration permit (see our posting on this). This battle was won on solid scientific evidence and by showing that indigenous rights had been ignored.
Since then, many activists who continued to fight against mining in Mindoro have been killed (see urgent action). And now as the company press release below shows President Arroyo has reversed her own earlier decision - although opposition is still strong.
Mindoro Nickel Project MPSA Reinstated
March 24th, 2004
Crew Gold Corporation ("Crew") - London, United Kingdom,
Crew Gold Corporation ("Crew") is pleased to report that its Philippine affiliate Aglubang Mining Corp has received notification that a resolution, issued by the Office of the President has been released, revoking and setting aside the cancellation of its MPSA (Mineral Production-Sharing Agreement) docketed as No. 167-2000-IV. The resolution effectively reinstates fully the MPSA and title to the property and re-emphasizes that issues regarding the implementation of the MPSA must be resolved under the terms of this agreement. The response of the Office of the President is a clear and strong signal of the change in attitude of the Government of the Philippines towards mining, from that of tolerance to active promotion and acknowledges the MPSA as a tool for investment protection.
Aglubang Mining Corp controls 100% of a large nickel-laterite deposit, located in Mindoro Island, which has been explored by Crew Minerals Philippines (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Crew Minerals AS) since 1997. In year 2000, Crew Minerals Phil., Inc. assigned the property to Aglubang Mining Corporation. The company suspended its evaluation of the economic feasibility of this project, when the MPSA, covering a large portion of the total resource, unexpectedly was cancelled in July 2001.
Crew is committed to conducting business in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. The company gives special employment consideration to local workforce and maintain a policy of increasing the employment of local people in its operations. The company has recently commissioned its first new mine (gold) and is preparing for the development of a second mining operation (olivine) in Greenland, an environmentally highly sensitive area, under the highest World Bank and European environmental and social standards and in cooperation with local government-owned partners.
Mindoro MPSA NR
Jan A. Vestrum President & CEO
The Governor of Mindoro Oriental has sent out around 80,000 leaflets addressed to all Mindororenos informing them of what he called "Impending Disaster coming to Mindoro" The following is an English translation that I propose we post next to the original MPSA (with the Position Paper he mentions when we get an English copy to circulate).
There Is an impending disaster coming to Mindoro Oriental
To the people of Mindoro Oriental,
There is an eminent disaster coming to Mindoro Oriental. Our strong opposition to the Mindoro Nickel Project led to President Arroyo cancelling the project in July 2001. Our position was strengthened with the declaration by the Province of a 25 year mining Moratorium.
However, in March 2004, Malacanang [the central government of the Republic of the Philippines] has again approved the proposed mining project of Mindex/Crew. And we strongly condemn this.Our victory then against large-scale mining was the fruit of our unified strength and our belief in the sacredness of our environment. We are not going to allow those gains to disappear in vain!
I have - together with the other local officials, churches, NGOs, Alliance against Mining, and other organizations - already issued a Position Paper calling on Malacanang to revoke its reinstatement of mining.
We shall not allow them to endanger the lives and health of our families due to the hazards mining will bring about.
We shall not allow the destruction of our rich mountains, farms, lake, rivers, and our seas which are the source of the wealth of our people.
We shall not allow the driving away of our indigenous brothers, farmers, fisherfolks in exchange for destructive mining
We shall not allow the loss of our watersheds and our rich bio-diversity.
We shall not allow this paradise to be ransformed into desert during the summer, and a raging flood during the rainy season, because of the destruction of the balance of nature.
We are not allowing all these to happen because WE ARE CONTINUING THE FIGHT!
And because I am the father of the Province, I am leading the fight to once and for all cancel the Mindoro Nickel Project of Mindex/Crew and all applications of major mining corporations in the province. We are together.We are with the various sectors. We are with all those who want Oriental Mindoro to remain a paradise, remain a womb that will bear bounty for our citizenry.
We shall not allow the eminent disaster to come to Oriental Mindoro !
Loving you and the Environment,
Governor Bartolome L. Marasigan
"Oppose the Mindoro Nickel Project! Oppose Mindex/Crew!"