Mining companies have typically set up their operations without respecting the rights of local communities. Increasingly, indigenous peoples, farmers and other local communities are speaking out to protect their rights and livelihoods from the impacts of potentially damaging effects of mining operations.
For Australian-based mining company- OceanaGold Philippines Inc. (OGPI), Didipio in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya is just another gold mine. But for indigenous peoples whose generations are nourished from its land and rivers, the fight against large-scale mining operations of OGPI is a fight for life.
Kasibu is considered the citrus capital of the country, with an annual output of about 10 million kilograms of oranges from an estimated 20,000 hectares of citrus plantations. Farmers here also produce vegetables that are sold in various parts of Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, Central Luzon and Metro Manila. Though people in Kasibu have long been aware of the promised economic gains of the mining project, they insist on planting fruit trees and vegetables as a safe, reliable and more sustainable economic base for their lives.
OGPI, formerly the Australasian Philippines Mining Inc. (APMI), is the transferee of a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) originally granted by the government to Climax Mining Limited, also an Australian company, in 1994.
OceanaGold’s FTAA covers 17,626 hectares of mineral lands in Didipio. The FTAA allows OGPI to go on full-scale commercial production and utilization of gold, copper, nickel, chromites, lead, zinc and other minerals except for cement raw materials, marble, granite, sand and gravel and construction aggregates.
Many residents of Didipio resist the large-scale mining in their area on account of adverse economic and environmental impact that such activity would cause to their community. A close examination of the social impacts of the mining operations by OGPI in Didipio reveals a consistent pattern of violations of indigenous peoples’ rights to “residence, adequate housing and property” and the “right of the indigenous community to manifest their culture and identity” as reported by the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) through its Resolution (CHR Resolution No. A2011-004) dated January 10, 2011.
From ATM Case Study