Arroyo’s Priority Mining Projects a Boon to TNCs
miners will be displaced
Macapagal-Arroyo’s 23 “priority development projects,” five are in the
Posted by Bulatlat
CITY – President
Macapagal-Arroyo’s 10-Point Legacy names 23 priority mineral resource
development projects and 37 priority mining exploration projects for
investment by foreign transnational corporations (TNCs).
23 priority development projects, five are in the Cordillera Region.
five priority projects in the Cordillera are the Padcal Expansion Project
of Philex Mining Corporation and Anglo-American Mining Company in Tuba,
Benguet; Teresa Gold Project of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. in
Mankayan, Benguet; Far Southeast Gold Project of Lepanto in Mankayan,
Benguet; Itogon Gold Project of Itogon Suyoc Mines in Itogon, Benguet; and
the Batong Buhay Gold Project of the government in Pasil, Kalinga.
Gold Project and Padcal Expansion Project are expansion projects of
Lepanto and Philex, respectively. Far Southeast Gold Project is a revival
of Lepanto’s previous project. The other two are a revival of two
abandoned mines. As Itogon Suyoc Mines and the government have no capital
to reopen these abandoned mines, the project is being sold by the Arroyo
administration to foreign mining companies.
Although there are only two EPs approved in the Cordillera, four of the
priority exploration projects will be implemented in the region, such as:
Conner Copper-Gold Project by Cordillera Exploration of Anglo-American in
Apayao; Camp 3 Gold Project by the Northern Luzon Exploration Company of
Philex and Anglo-American in Tuba, Benguet; the Gambang Gold Project of
Oxiana in Bakun, Benguet; and the Tabuk Copper Project of Wolfland
Resources in Kalinga. Coverage of the Tabuk Copper Project extends to the
and the Conner Copper-Gold Project to the municipality of Balbalan.
Small-scale gold miners
Several areas also
applied for by big mining companies are small-scale gold mining areas. In
the Cordillera, there are around 19,500 small-scale gold miners from 6,300
households. They are found mainly in the municipalities of Itogon, Tuba,
and Mankayan in Benguet; Bontoc and Sagada in Mountain Province; Bucloc,
Boliney, Daguioman, Licuan-Baay, Malibcong, Lacub, and Tineg in Abra;
Balbalan and Pasil in Kalinga. The entry of foreign mining firms
threatens the livelihood of small scale miners who also face displacement.
Small-scale mining is
productive in the Cordillera. In fact, for the first quarter of 2004, the
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP – Central Bank of the Philippines) bought
4,825 kgs of gold from small-scale miners through its gold-buying station
in Quezon City and 609 kgs from its gold-buying station in Baguio.
organizations believe that if bad practices among small-scale miners are
corrected, small-scale mining can be environmentally-sound unlike the
extractive and extractive full-scale mining practiced by TNCs and their
local partners. Small-scale mining can also benefit the community of
miners if managed and controlled by their community organizations. It is
being promoted as a viable peoples’ alternative to the operations of
foreign mining companies.
For its part, the
Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) sees no hope in the current
administration and calls on the Cordillera peoples to defend lands and
livelihood against the onslaught of “imperialist mining.” The alliance
also said in a statement, “Only through the people’s vigilance, collective
and sustained mass actions using various legitimate forms of defense and
resistance with broad public support that this form of national oppression
and imperialist imposition be prevented.” Northern Dispatch / Posted by
Cordillera – Still the Main Hub of Transnational Mining
First of three parts
Dominate Mining Industry
Second of three parts
Buaya Tribe Resists
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© 2005 Bulatlat
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