Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) welcomes the cancellation of the Environmental Compliance Certificate for Sagittarius Mines, Inc.’s Tampakan Copper-Gold Mining Project in South Cotabato. The struggle against Tampakan mining has been on-going for the last two decades since the Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) has been issued in 1994.
The Tampakan project has caused the murder and harassment of too many indigenous leaders who oppose it. For communities, the human rights violations and threats are one of the reasons for their opposition to the development of the mines, second to their displacement and the impacts to their ancestral domains. The human rights impact assessments and submitted reports can prove this.
Further, this is a very good decision by Sec. Lopez and her team since it remains a question for ATM why the ECC has been issued in the first place. The Tampakan mining project environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) said that 4,000-hectares of forests will be cut down and water sources of communities depending of 6 rivers will be affected. It will displace thousands of indigenous peoples living in the lands covered by the FTAA. Further, a review of the ESIA in 2011 showed that SMI failed to disclose the most severe impacts of the mining project in an area of high seismic activity—the mine area is on top of stratovolcanoes and fault lines.
Before the ECC was first issued in 2013, the Tampakan Forum, of which ATM is a member, submitted a critique of the ESIA that SMI failed to respond to. It seems pressure from the Cabinet members of the Aquino government forced the DENR to issue the ECC.
We also welcome the decision to cancel mining projects within watershed areas. ATM partners in the sites of struggles are again believes that the DENR is also concerned with the protection and conservation of environment and natural resources and not just an agent of development aggression. This is the only time that the DENR is actually implementing the policy to establish no-go zones because the previous practice was to allow mining even in protected areas, prime agricultural lands and fragile island ecosystems.
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.
Tampakan Forum is a technical working group composed of organizations and experts who are providing advise and technical assistance to local campaigners resisting Glencore – mainly led by the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel (SAC Marbel).
For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 <email@example.com>
Karl Isaac Santos, Media and Communications Officer, (0917) 301.19.34 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
 SMI’s own consultants admitted in their ESIA: ”The tailings storage facility has been given an “Extreme” consequence classification of a dam failure to downstream communities, infrastructure and the environment during operation and closure due to the High potential for loss of life and high environmental damage if a failure of Dams or Rock Storage occurs.”