Press Release : Why Tampakan Mine shouldn't be allowed to proceed: 23 March 2012
Press Statement on the experts' take on the issues discussed during the much talked about Philippine Mining Conference held in Makati last March 2.Press Release : Why Tampakan Mine shouldn't be allowed to proceed: 23 March 2012
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Press Release : Why Tampakan Mine shouldn't be allowed to proceed: 23 March 2012
Press Release: Why Tampakan Mineshouldnt be allowed to proceedPress Statement on the experts take on theissues discussed during the much talkedabout Philippine Mining Conference held inMakati last March 2.
Press Statement 23rd March 2012We are concerned that some of the key issues discussed at the mining conference, ‘Minings Impact onPhilippine Economy and Ecology’ organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, theFinancial Executives Institute of the Philippines and the Management Association of the Philippines at theInterContinental Manila in Makati City on the Friday 2nd March 2012, were not adequately reported . It was not reported that there was agreement that all miners, large or small scale, must respect theLaws and that the government does not have the institutional capability to evaluate and regulate mining.The discussants all supported, in principle, the concept of “responsible” mining, although there weredisagreements on what constitutes “responsible” mining and how that is measured and applied to specificsituations. Nor was it generally reported that the mining industry opposes the use of the Total EconomicValuation to determine the real cost of mining by accounting for environmental, social and economic costs,an analytical tool that has been in use for decades. Without full cost accounting, there is no basis fordetermining whether a mining project is really good for the country. And this has been going on for over 50years. Where we disagreed with the mining proponents and proposed areas for immediate action are:Mining, alternatives and Agriculture. We disagree completely when Miners claim that they only operatein areas which are not valuable for forestry, biodiversity, agriculture, fishing or tourism. The maps we madewith PAFID (Philippines Association for Intercultural Development) and UNEP-WCMC (United NationsEnvironmental Programme) and our report “Philippines Mining or Food?” based on MGB’s own miningtenement maps, show the real scale of the problem if overlaid with the Department of Agriculture (DA)agricultural and irrigation maps, e.g. 70% of the agricultural lands in the Zamboanga Peninsula werecovered in mining tenements and current mining plans are undermining the DA’s ability to make thecountry self-sufficient in rice by 2013 to feed an estimated population of 130 million by 2030. All mining projects should be vetted by the DA and other departments or bureaus responsible for ordeveloping irrigation, marine resources and tourism for their approval/disapproval before exploration ispermitted. Expenditure on exploration is used by miners as a reason to be allowed to mine later . DENR’s conflicting functions. DENR’s role of promoting mining, oil, gas, and forestryexploitation should be reappraised. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau should be separated and joinanother department leaving the DENR responsible for environmental protection and development. TheForestry Management Bureau, Environmental Management Bureau, Land Management Bureau andProtected Areas and Wildlife Bureau would remain under DENR management. The DENR could thenbetter ensure environmental protection by focusing on compliance, monitoring, enforcement and sustainabledevelopment. Sustainable environmental planning projects and strategic environmental assessments wouldbe undertaken by the independent DENR ensuring that the country’s environmental resources andbiodiversity are developed and intergenerational obligations met by the government. Responsible Mining. While we agree with the principle, is it really possible to practice‘responsible’ mining in any part of the Philippines which is so dependent upon agriculture and fisheries?The MGB mining tenement maps contain no reference to important agricultural areas, key biodiversityareas, watersheds, fish breeding zones etc. Mining Tenements even encroach into legally protected NationalParks such as Mt. Guiting-Guiting in Sibuyan Island, Mt. Hamiguitan Wildlife Sanctuary and Pujada BayProtected Landscape and Seascape in Davao del Norte to name but a few. We believe also that it isfundamentally wrong to allow mines in watersheds particularly in areas of high seismic activity, inagricultural lands or in areas of armed conflict. Projects such as the Tampakan project which is sited in a vital watercatchment for four provincesin an area of high seismic activity with a” high potential for loss of life and high environmentaldamage” (quote from SMI ESIA report) would never be allowed either in the UK or Switzerland whereXstrata/Glencore are registered. It will affect 6 rivers, fragile aquifers and up to 150,000 hectares of
irrigated land including water supplies for thousands of people. It is also in a conflict zone. Why should thePhilippines permit such a mine and carry the known and unknown risks and costs forever? Full and Fair Share of Government in Mining Revenues - The mining industry objects to thegovernment proposal to increase its share, except for one major mining company. Most of the mineral richcountries are doing this now. The 2% excise tax on production value is a tax for the extraction activity. Theminerals themselves are given no value. Instead, it is government pays the miners to extract the mineralswith foregone revenues from generous tax incentives and tax holidays. The mining companies do not evenstart paying taxes until they have recovered their pre-operating and development costs. Mining is a Social Justice issue. Miners also claim that their mining projects cover a small landarea but in reality they often leave a very large footprint as a result of mine pollution and siltation. To quotefrom Christian Monsod’s conference presentation, “Mining activities are usually located in rural andmountainous areas and can affect farmlands, rivers and shorelines, where the poorest of the poor arelocated namely, the farmers, indigenous peoples and municipal fishermen. The fact is that mining cannot beconducted without affecting the land, water, and air surrounding the site, as well as the various naturalresources found in them. That is why mining is often cited as an example of what Paul Krugman calls,‘activities that privatize benefits and socialize costs”. The rights of indigenous peoples to their ancestral lands and of fishermen and farmers to theirsubsistence livelihoods are constitutionally protected and cannot be sacrificed in the name of ‘responsiblemining’. Congress is required to give the highest priority to the protection of human rights. Furthermore,the impact of mining on the scale envisaged is inconsistent with the fundamental right to a healthfulecology. We also agree with Monsod’s proposal that, since mining extracts non-renewable natural capital, allthe government revenues from mining should be put in a special trust fund to create new capital such asimproved human resources and infrastructure in rural areas, as well as to compensate the poor directlyaffected by mining. Similar funds exist in progressive mineral-rich countries, i.e. Norway, Chile and Chad. High Level Inter-Departmental Committee. There is a desperate need for strategic planning andoverall supervision of all mining and other extractive industries and land conversion projects by a HighLevel Inter-Departmental Committee. All affected Departments and stakeholders including representativeof civil society should be represented in an Inter-Governmental Committee which we believe shouldinclude a reformed DENR, the Departments of Agriculture, Tourism and Finance, and in cases of conflictpossibly the Commission on Human Rights. The responsibility and accountability of Central Government and Local Government is also vital.Central government should act as a check and balance on local government units while local governmentshould act as a check and balance to national government. Miners should not be allowed to interfere in thisprocess by providing financial or other support for politicians who support mining against those trying toprotect their environment and people. All laws should be respected and enforced. Finally, like manycountries we recommend that the Philippines use Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) to judgethe likely impact of environmentally critical development projects like mining or oil exploration onecosystems, urban and rural communities and important sustainable economic activities like agricultureand fisheries prior to any decision-making and long-term land conversion developments.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 PhilippinesMember of IUCN-CEESP (IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic & Social Policy)Member of SEAPRISE (CEESP Theme on the Social and Environmental Accountability of the Private Sector)Hares Holt, Orestan Lane, Effingham, Surrey, KT24 5SN, UKTel No + 44 (0) 1372 452258, Mobil + 44 (0)7806064784Working Group on Mining in the Philippines Reports Co-author of Philippines Concerns andConflicts (2007) & Philippines - Mining or Food? (2010)Photos launches with links to Reports and Mapshttp://philippinesminingorfood.blogspot.com