Press Release 24 March 2012 Tampakan
Press Release 24 March 2012 Tampakan Press Release on the Tampakan mining issue by Clive Montgomery Wicks and and Dr Robert Goodland , international environmental conservation and development technical experts of the London Working Group on Mining in the Philippines and members of the Tampakan Forum.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Press Release 24 March 2012 Tampakan
Xstrata CopperOperations and projects in seven countries 8 mines 4 smelters 3 refineries 3 SX-EW plants 6 projects 1 recycling business
Press Release 24th March 2012 “The Tampakan Mine has a High Potential for Loss of Life and High Environmental Damage if the Facilities fail”.Our working group have repeatedly warned Xstrata about the dangers of the Tampakan SMImining project 1 and commented on the inadequate environmental studies but they have failed tolisten. We are told that they have not even consulted the current Secretary of the Department ofAgriculture. The result is that the proposed Tampakan mine represents all that was wrong aboutmining under the previous Philippine administrations which made mining a priority program of thegovernment, undermining the Department of Agriculture’s responsibilities for food production andcausing rampant human rights and environmental violations and anxiety for affectedcommunities. In our view it is not ‘responsible’ to mine in vital water catchments in the mountains ofTampakan in South Cotabato which support agricultural production in the provinces of SouthCotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and Davao del Sur. We believe the Tampakan copper-goldproject will become one of the most dangerous mines in the world if it is approved. We totallyagree with the SMI’s consultant engineers who determined that: “The Tampakan Mine has ahigh potential for loss of life and high environmental damage if the facilities fail” [page 42Waste Management Report. Appendix A. SMI Environmental and Social Impact Assessment(ESIA) 2011]. We totally disagree that Xstrata/Indophil/SMI can design the facilities to surviveseismic activity and climate change including tropical cyclones forever. The facilities include the mine itself which will leave an 800 meter deep pit (mine void)which we believe will leak acid mine drainage into the surrounding water tables and water coursesand a 300 meter high pile of 1.35 billion tons of waste rock, high in arsenic and with a highpotential for acid mine drainage. That area covers 500 hectares. The other mine facilities includetwo dams, one of which is 0.8 km long and 150 meters high; the other is 2.1 kms long and 280meters high, covering over 1,000 hectares and situated just above the Mal River NIA irrigationdam. One dam will store fresh water while the tailings dam will store some 1.35 billion tons oftoxic waste rock and tailings rich in arsenic and water with high potential for acid mine drainage.Any spill is likely to cause loss of life, damage to aquifers, to other water resources and toagriculture. The Tampakan mine is envisaged in an area of high seismic activity and theconcession area itself is situated over geological fault lines and a cluster of dormant stratovolcanoes within 12 kms of Mount Matutum, an active volcano. All these factors are a sure recipefor disaster in the not too distant future. Hundreds of tailings dams have failed as reported byUNEP. 2 We do not believe that dams can be designed to last forever where tropical storms,1 In 2007 we met the CEO of Xstrata Copper in London, with Clare Short the former UK Minister for International Development,and he promised us that if the mine was too dangerous that Xstrata would not proceed with it. Why is it proceeding?2 See for example: www.wise-uranium.org/mdas.html, “Chronology of major tailings dam failures”www.csp2.org/reports/Long%20Term%20Risks%20of%20Tailings%20Dam%20Failure; MMSD, 2002, Stewardship of TailingsFacilities, T.E. Martin, M.P. Davies, S. Rice, T. Higgs and P.C. Lighthall, AMEC Earth & Environmental Limited, April 2002; UNEP,1998, Case Studies on Tailings Management, United Nations Environment Programme, International Council on Metals and theEnvironment; handle.digital.csic.es/bitstream/10261/12706/3/MayteRico_10.pdf; Holden & Jacobsen 2012. Mining and naturalhazard vulnerability in the Philippines: Digging to development or digging to disaster? London, Anthem Pr. 306 pp. 1
typhoons, heavy rains and seismic activity are a constant threat. Induced seismic activity can causeeven more damage. Approximately 4,000 hectares of forest, including 1,350 hectares of Rainforest, are targetedto be destroyed to make way for the project according the ESIA. Presidential Executive Order No.23 forbids forest destruction. The Climate Change Commission predicts that Central Mindanaowill have 20% less water in 20 years so the remaining forest cover is essential to maintain watersupplies. Now that the facts are known, why are SMI/Xstrata/Indophil still trying to proceed andendeavouring to change the law and judgement of the Provincial authorities in South Cotabato?Surely, this is not responsible mining? Ordinances Banning Open Pit Mines. The Provincial Government of South Cotabato toup-hold Philippine laws designed to protect water catchments and Human Rights passed acomprehensive Environment Code in June 2010 banning open pit mining in the province. This wecommend. Indeed the other affected Provinces should take similar action as the known andunknown risks are too high to do otherwise. In enacting open-cast mining ban ordinances, localgovernments are acting in accordance with their obligations and autonomous powers under boththe Constitution, and the Local Government Code of 1991. They also act as a check and balancemechanism on national government powers and policies and they should be supported forupholding environmental and human rights laws. Inducements. Miners should be prevented from providing financial support orinducements to politicians and others to support mining against those who oppose and seek topromote sustainable alternative livelihoods and policies to protect the rights of communities andpromote a healthy environment. Precautionary Principle. The 1990 Bergen Declaration on Sustainable Developmentdeclares: “In order to achieve sustainable development, policies must be based on theprecautionary principle. Environmental measures must anticipate, prevent and attack the causes ofenvironmental degradation. Where there are threats of serious and irreversible damage, lack ofscientific certainty, should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to preventenvironmental degradation”. Therefore the proposed Tampakan mine should not be allowed to proceed.Clive Montgomery Wicks on behalf of himself and Dr Robert GoodlandConservation and Development Consultant(Specialising on Impact of Oil, Gas, Mining and Biofuel Projects)Member of London Working Group on Mining in the Philippines (WGMP-UK)Member of IUCN-CEESP (IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic & Social Policy)Member of SEAPRISE (CEESP Theme on the Social and Environmental Accountability of the PrivateSector)Hares Holt, Orestan Lane, Effingham, Surrey, KT24 5SN, UK,Tel No + 44 (0) 1372 452258 Mobil + 44 (0)7806064784Working Group on Mining in the Philippines ReportsCo-author of Philippines Concerns and Conflicts (2007) & Philippines - Mining or Food? (2010)Photos launches with links to Reports and Mapshttp://philippinesminingorfood.blogspot.com 2