Manila – Intex Resources, a Norwegian mining company with a Nickel project in Mindoro, was found to have violated numerous guidelines for multi-national enterprises established under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
This was the conclusion of the Norwegian National Contact Point (NCP) in their final statement on the complaint against Intex Resources released in November 30. After three years of investigation, the NCP found that the Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC) obtained from the indigenous peoples of Mindoro was not sufficiently informed, and that reasons exist to question the procedure as to how this was obtained.
The NCP also emphasized that Intex should ‘consult broader groups of indigenous peoples and be more transparent’ and informant of the environmental impact of their mining project covering 11, 200-hectares of land located between the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro.
While the NCP final statement gives recommendations to Intex to comply with OECD Guidelines, groups here believe that the company should pull out and withdraw the project.
Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina national coordinator said, “This is what many organizations in the Philippines have been waiting for—a validation that Intex was in breach of OECD guidelines and rights of communities in Mindoro. We believe this is more than enough reason for Intex to completely pull out from Mindoro, especially since the province has a 25-year moratorium on mining and that should be respected!” Garganera also added that the Philippine government must finally cancel the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) it issued to Intex, and in the process, formally withdraw the mining contract it issued.
In January 2009, Future in Our Hands, a Norwegian organization, in collaboration with Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks), Middlesex University Department of Law in the UK, and Alyansa Laban sa Mina (ALAMIN), submitted its complaint to the NCP stating that Intex has violated three of the OECD Guidelines. Specifically, the groups alleged the: 1) absence of genuine free prior and informed consent (FPIC); 2) lack of transparency; and 3) not having a substantive environmental impact assessment that is shared and known by the people.
Fr. Edu Gariguez, currently Executive Secretary of CBCP-NASSA and representative of ALAMIN, said in a statement, “The communities in Mindoro had always pointed out the flaws and questionable processes by which Intex Resources pursued the mining project despites peoples opposition, up to the point of violating the rights of indigenous peoples and threatening our fragile ecosystems.”
Meanwhile, Judy Pasimio of Legal Rights and Natural Resources-Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-KsK/FOEI) said, “The NCP report has further delegitimized the presence of Intex Resources in Mindoro. It has affirmed what the Mangyans have been saying all along – that they have not given their consent to Intex, that the FPIC was a bogus one.”
The Mangyans have staged a week-long hunger strike in 2009 in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to call for the revocation of the ECC of Intex, and the cancellation of its mining permit. In response, the ECC was suspended.
“The findings of the NCP should finally convince the DENR that there are sound legal basis for the cancellation of the ECC of Intex. And that this deceitful mining company should not be allowed to operate in the Philippines,” Pasimio added.
“We are thankful that we can recourse to international mechanisms like the OECD Guidelines and after three years of investigation affirm our complaints. We hope that Intex Resources will admit their lack of capacity to pursue this project,” Gariguez added.
The OECD aims ‘to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.’ The OECD Guidelines adhered to by members countries provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct.
Andy Whitmore of PIPLinks further added, “We have engaged in this complaint process for nearly three years. It is satisfying to see many of the points raised by the local people and their supporters vindicated. It remains to be seen how much this criticism will affect things on the ground.”
Alyansa Laban sa Mina (ALAMIN) is a network of civil society organizations, Church and local government units in Oriental Mindoro established in 1999 to consolidate peoples opposition to the Mindoro Nickel Project.
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines.
For more information:
Fr Edu Gariguez, ALAMIN, (0919) 800.55.95
Judy Pasimio, LRC-KsK/FOEI Executive Director, (0917) 526.83.41
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy&Advocacy Officer, (0915) 331.33.61