By Kalikasan PNE
Environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) hailed as a victory for the people’s movement the divestment of Anglo-Swiss mining giant Glencore from the $5.9 billion Tampakan mining project in South Cotabato, SOCSKSARGEN region.
“Glencore, potentially the largest mining project in the country to date, ultimately failed in the face of massive people’s resistance against foreign and large-scale mining. Glencore-SMI has been eager to plunder the estimated 2.4 billion metric tons of copper-gold deposits in Mindanao since 1992, but has been stopped time and again even as it is currently supported by the Aquino administration,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.
Glencore has been land grabbing 24,000 hectares of ancestral lands, forests, and agricultural lands of indigenous people and peasants, and has displaced at least 5,000 individuals and caused another 40,000 people—mostly farmers—to lose their livelihoods.
In addition to repugnant environmental destruction and social dislocation, at least 10 extrajudicial killings of indigenous people, children, and environmental activists has been incurred against opponents of the mining project since 2001. Glencore was also the mastermind behind the vilification and illegal detention by the Armed Forces of the Philippines of anti-mining activist Romeo Rivera Jr. in 2014, and has been employing military and paramilitary forces to militarize the mine-affected communities.
“Faced with strong and relentless resistance from the B’laan indigenous people, peasants, church people, rights advocates and environmentalists, the gargantuan Glencore-SMI fell and ultimately raised the white flag. We believe that this is the first case in which Glencore failed to advance its commercial mining operations in a foreign country. Glencore has serious negative environmental and rights track records in different countries such as Colombia, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, raking in billion-dollar profits from the extraction and trading of other people’s resources and products across the globe,” said Bautista.
In a June 24 statement, Glencore sold its holdings in the 10,000-hectare Tampakan project to Australian miner Indophil Resources-NL, which holds 37.5% of the 40% controlling stake in Sagitarrius Mines Inc (SMI), which runs the project.
“The people have been holding and will continue to hold various actions in the struggle against foreign mining projects. From the LGUs maintaining their ban on open-pit mining, to environmentalists’ street protests, down to indigenous people’s armed defense and punitive actions from the New People’s Army, the people will continue to protect our homes and livelihood,” asserted Bautista.
“If there shall be a new owner of the Tampakan mining, they will face the same stiff resistance from the Filipino people. We will never stop defending our lands, rights and natural resources. Indophil, SMI, and other large-scale foreign mining giants should completely abandon the Tampakan mining project and leave Mindanao, lest they face the united and principled action of the Filipino people,” ended Bautista.###
Reference: Clemente Bautista, Kalikasan PNE National Coordinator, 0922 844 9787