September 25, 2017, 1:33 am
Facebook iconTwitter iconYouTube iconGoogle+ icon

Mine, mine, mine! Miners all...

The Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) is hard pressed to find much wrong with  open pit surface mining.   “Doable and lucrative”--describes open pit surface mining, according to MICC.    If the MICC succeeds in putting enough influence, pressure, arm-twisting, etc. on Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu, open pit mining  will be A-OK again for DENR.   MICC cannot possibly police mines since it has for its leader a lawyer with full sympathy for mine owners.  Also, MICC co-chair is Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez,  who from all indications sees no wrong in these  local mining ethics. 

Larry Heradez, head of the Mines & Geosciences Bureau’s legal division is in tune with MICC.  Heradez was part of a team that reviewed those Gina Lopez policy orders suspending illegally operating mines.   Among those that Heradez reviewed were the cancellation of 75 contracts of undeveloped mines to protect watersheds.   Heradez:  “Some of the 75 contracts may still be canceled; not because the projects are within watersheds,  but because of possible violations, like non-payment of taxes and non-implementation of work program.”  Heradez sees mining activities in watersheds acceptable, as long as taxes are paid and work programs (?)  are implemented.  Did he ask, para que these  watersheds?  Are watersheds useful?

Mining veteran and ex-banker Gerard Brimo, president and chief executive officer of Nickel Asia Corp. is new chair of  Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) to lead the mining industry in navigating a challenging regulatory environment.  COMP struggles with the definition of “responsible mining” (Philippine Mining Act).  Owners are mandated to  “set up a rehabilitation fund to make the mine area as  productive after all ores are extracted.”   There is not enough money in the pocket of an owner to effectively  rehabilitate any open pit mine such as those poisoned pits sitting all over the Philippines today.  How does one rehabilitate a poisoned open pit?   Poisoned pits  are historically abandoned to poison Filipinos for centuries.   COMP  vice chairs are Gilberto Teodoro, defense chief during the Macapagal-Arroyo regime and now chair of Sagittarius Mines; Jose Leviste Jr., chair of Oceana Gold Philippines.  

Excerpt from Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM):  “Mining will permanently change the physical and ecological landscape of an area. The same mining tenement has a river, a forest, or in a fragile island-ecosystem.  The same mine facilities are impacting the coastal areas for fishers and the irrigation for farmers.  The same mine project is within ancestral domains, and therefore require Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) from indigenous communities.  The same mining project introduces environmental, social and political impacts. 

“To reduce the mining audit to a ‘technical exercise’ and the mining industry as an ‘economic driver’ sans the social and environmental safeguards, defeats the purpose of establishing what is a ‘responsible mine’.  This reveals the hollowed and minimal understanding of the mining industry and how to implement ‘responsible mining’.  This is not the path to social justice....”

Open pit surface mining’s business maneuvering serves Team Miners’ mission.  While this bunch recognizes  the money-making potential  of open pit mining, the environment and people’s communities around open pits will suffer unspeakable punishment.  Open pit is horrendous beyond words.

Once this Team Miners  has completed its review of all previous policy orders and made recommendations to neglect  watersheds, they will be submitted to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, who then “can revise or amend or supersede.  With the advice and consent of mine owners?   Cimatu  has been taking a slow approach towards mining; what to do about the mining operations and contracts ordered closed, suspended or canceled.   A  former military chief, Cimatu told media it was possible to “strike a balance between mining and natural resources.”  Mining vs natural resources!   A diametrically opposing missions seeing the unmoderated greed of certain mine owners. The people are hoping that Cimatu would go  after such miners who operate illegally for increased profit in rural and mountainous areas, affect farmlands, mangroves, rivers, and shorelines where the poor live and engage in livelihood – farmers, indigenous peoples, and subsistence fishermen.

Data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) revealed that the total metallic production value grew by P2.08 billion in the first six months of the year, from P48.73 billion in the same period in 2016 to P50.81 billion.   “Gold price was on the upswing in the first half particularly due to strong investment demand.”  The yellow metal was upbeat at US$1,238.46 per troy ounce in the first half, from US$1,217.85 per troy ounce year-on-year, a US$20.61 increase.   Masbate Gold Project of Filminera Mining Corporation & Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corporation in Bicol Province as well as OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. in Cagayan Province were the country’s major gold producers.

All these upswings in production and income!  Still,  Filipino soil handlers inside mines are left with coins after paying the company sari-sari store.  Their families still eating two meals a day.  Irresponsible illegal mine owners privatize benefits and socialize costs.   

***

Dahliaspillera@yahoo.com
Rating: 
Average: 2 (2 votes)

Column of the Day

The sweet in the bittersweet

By JOSE BAYANI BAYLON | September 25,2017
‘Never in our wildest dreams did it ever occur to me - and I am sure to him - that his final months will be spent with the black sheep of the family.’

Opinion of the Day

Barbaric fraternities (3)

By DAHLI ASPILLERA | September 25, 2017
‘Identified by his father in a deep ravine, where a dead EJ Karl Intia, 19, U-Makati, was thrown after initiation. Where are those 15 participants at that APO hazing?’