Kalikasan raises alarm over PH mining plunder in protests outside UK global mining confab

Kalikasan PNE Press release

28 November 2017

LONDON, United Kingdom — The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment’s national coordinator Clemente Bautista joins fellow leaders in the global movement against mining plunder in London for the week-long “Rise, Resist, Renew: Alternatives to Mines and Money” campaign, parallel to the ongoing 15th Annual Mines and Money global mining conference of investors and companies from November 27 to 30, 2017.

The Philippines’ biggest environmental network aims to raise the most urgent mining issues in the Philippines to the British public, British parliamentarians and civil servants, and the Filipino community living in the UK during the week of action.

“Big mining plunderers are brokering the further consignment of mineral-rich but poor countries such as the Philippines here at one of the leading financial hubs of the world. British mining interests in the Philippines such as Bluebird Merchant Ventures and FCF Minerals exemplify the ‘resource curse’ that inflicts poverty, destruction, and violence against our communities that this Mines and Money confab promotes,” Bautista said.

Aside from the Philippines, delegates from Colombia and Uganda also joined the “Rise, Resist, Renew” to share their stories of people’s struggles against big mining plunder.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd, a Virgin Islands-based company, acquired in late 2016 mine tenements in the town of Lobo, Batangas province, precariously covering 2,175 hectares of biodiversity and resource-rich mountains of Mt. Banoi and Mt. Lobo. These terrestrial ecosystems are also adjacent to the global ‘center of the center’ of marine biodiversity, the Verde Island Passage.

At least 470 residents from the town of Lobo and Batangas City were forced to evacuate from their homes because of air strikes and aerial bombings by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last September 24, 2017. While the combat operations were against communist insurgents, the attacks affected anti-mining communities as well. Human rights workers have repeatedly attempted to investigate the situation in Lobo but continue to be prevented by military and police blocking forces.

Meanwhile, FCF Minerals has recently begun commercial operations of its 3,093.51-hectare gold-molybdenum mine in Quezon Town, Nueva Vizcaya Province. Even during its mine development stage, independent scientific tests already correlated its operations to the copper pollution in the rivers flowing through the operation already exceeding safety standards. Earlier in 2012, FCF Minerals violently demolished communities during its construction phase, injuring at least six villagers in the process.

Goldfields, the South African mining giant that has been invited as one of the keynote speakers in Mines and Money, is in partnership with local Filipino mining company Lepanto for its 948-hectare gold-copper mine in Mankayan Town, Benguet province,, which was previously suspended for various regulatory deficiencies and continuously opposed by local indigenous people’s communities.

“We appeal to the international community to share their solidarity to the Filipino communities displaced, polluted and violently assaulted by various transnational mining corporations. We are calling for a full investigation into the human rights situation of various villages resisting mining projects in the country that are being targeted by military, police, and paramilitary forces,” said Bautista.

The Mines and Money conference is considered a ‘one stop shop’ for mining companies to gain access to capital in Europe and clinch investment deals. Slated events at the “Rise, Resist, Renew” campaign seeks to deliver a message of protest to the Mines and Money meeting. The week of action is hosted by the London Mining Network, War on Want and The Gaia Foundation, in support of the worldwide movements against mining-related destruction.#

Photo Releases: Filipino environmental activist Clemente Bautista alongside anti-mining leaders from Uganda and Colombia in a panel discussion at the ‘Frontline Voices’ convergence held last November 25 in London to kick off a series of counter activities in parallel to the Mines & Money global confab. Credit to Gaia Foundation

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National Secretariat
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 02 356 21 66 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net