Independent newspaper in Vancouver, Canada, Asian Pacific Post, ran the following story on how the provincial government of Marinduque is treating the case against Placer Dome/Barrick Gold which, as the Nevada Supreme Court has ruled, should be moved to Canada or Philippines, but with favorable conditions for the Philippine province if moved to Canada.
Stronger calls from stakeholders and other government, CSO and religious leaders to act swiftly as expected by the people have become more apparent now.
Part 2 follows:
“WE ARE KILLING EACH OTHER OVER MINING”
A new atlas of 600 international mining and oil companies has identified more than 1,500 ongoing conflicts raging over water, land, spills, pollution, ill-health, relocations, waste, land grabs, floods and falling water levels.
The EU-funded report by academics at 23 universities and environmental justice groups in Africa, India and Latin America has identified 142 disputes involving gold mines, 130 at coal mines, 96 at copper mines and 73 at silver mines, with India, Colombia, Nigeria, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and the Philippines having the most. They ranged from longstanding legal disputes to armed conflicts.
The companies whose mines have attracted the most accusations of human rights abuses and environmental conflict are some of the largest in the world, mostly listed on the London stock exchange, reported the Guardian.
They include AngloGold Ashanti, Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold, BHP Billiton, Glencore Xstrata and Newmont Mining. Between them they are involved in 75 conflicts in countries ranging from Colombia, Burma and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the US, Zambia and the Philippines, says the database.
“Much of the Philippines has now been militarised to defend the companies,”, says Benedictine nun Sister Stella Matutina, a community worker in Mindanao province who has been targeted by the government for opposing mining companies.
In the last year she has been charged with kidnapping, human trafficking and illegal detention for opposing Canadian, Australian and British mining companies and for looking after tribal people displaced by mining.
Mining in the Philippines has exploded from only 17 operations in 1997 to nearly 50 mega-mines today. “We have found that mining divides our people, it kills them, it does not help us. It destroys our values. Mining and militarisation are twins. Where there is big mining there is always militarisation, because the government has to ensure that foreigners can invest in our country. People are resisting, are taking up arms against the entry of these mining companies. We are killing each other over mining,” she said.
Canadian mining companies have some of the worst records for human rights violations, according to a report submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2013. It found Canadian companies were involved in more than 100 human rights and environmental disputes in Latin America.
Pierre Gratton, director of the Mining Association of Canada, said: “We don’t deny that there is conflict everywhere but feel we are leaders in setting standards and are doing a better job than anyone else. There’s a much higher level of awareness and sensitivity now, and an ability to raise issues which in the past might have been overlooked. The industry is more active [than it used to be] in Asia, Africa and the Americas and is working in countries with weak governance. These [mines] are multibillion-dollar investments. The money flows to the capitals, and [impacted] communities say ‘what about us?’”
According to PwC, one of the world’s top four industry auditors, government intervention and conflicts have mushroomed as commodity prices slump. “The gloves are off for the industry with widespread government intervention, internal industry conflicts and rising shareholder activism,” it said in its annual report. - Asian Pacific Post