Thursday, October 11, 2007

Another black mark on mining in the Philippines

Read When governance fails: Murder in the island - 10/05/07

This is about the October 3, 2007 murder of World Wildlife Fund community organizer and farm supervisor as well as Sibuyan, Romblon Municipal Councilor, Armin Marin during a confrontation between staff and security personnel of a mining consortium and environmentalists/mining oppositionists. Check out the YouTube tribute to him and sign on the online petition to ban mining in Sibuyan Island at:

Councilor Marin is the 23rd environmental activist to be killed in the Philippines since 2001 according to Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE).

There are some revealing information on the web. Among the interesting ones are the following:

1. The mining rights have been sold to one corporation after another, mostly foreign. Nothing irregular here, except that the current mining rights or lease holder has already paid a premium and will definitely want a good ROI. Note also that some of these mining companies are publicly listed so they have to produce a profit for their shareholders, no matter what. See the following blogs written by Romblon locals:

Sibuyan Aton Manggad

2. The ECC was for small scale mining. The permit to cut trees indicate massive tree cutting and site development. See

The ECC should have been for large scale mining not small scale mining. They used the loopholes in the Small Scale Mining Act to apply for several but contiguous small scale mining projects. In reality this makes it large scale mining.

3. This mess wouldn't have happened if Filipinos themselves were more ethical. Money has tainted the mining technical staff, environmental consultants, mining corporations, LGU officials, etc. Some web links indicate that an ex-Mines Bureau top official was an officer of one of the mining firms. Some of the most prominent geologists and businessmen in the country were mining leaseholders. Provincial and LGU officials welcomed and endorsed the mining companies. Poverty is also forcing residents into illegal logging.

See this blog for the interview of the Romblon Congressman and the comments thereafter:


Here's a partial list of proposed mining projects in the country:


Here are some of the websites of the mining companies:

Altai Resources Inc.- Relationship of Altai & APMC, Philippines

Pelican Resources Limited

Theoretically, there is good mining and bad mining. Good mining operations develop the local economy, assist social development, contribute to national industrialization, develop infrastructure, promote technology and skills transfer, etc. UP's Dr. Teddy Santos suggested that the Philippines, in opening up the country to mining, should ensure that mining leads to national development and not to further environmental destruction and impoverishment.

Does good mining exist in the country? Rio Tuba comes to mind. I wouldn't call them saints, but maybe the presence of 3,000 Muslim rebel returnees in one of the barangays of Bataraza, the suspicion that Bataraza is an R n R area of Muslim revolutionaries and possibly Abu Sayyaf, the presence of vulnerable foreign technical staff there, the fact that the mining law requires them to spend over P100 million on social development projects (1% of direct mining and milling costs), the strict provisions of the Palawan Strategic Environmental Plan, the presence of active environmental NGOs, and a more assertive LGU leaves them no choice but to implement environmental and social development programs.

Only time will tell if good mining is possible in the Philippines. It seems to be off to a bad start though.

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