Call for ban on new Philippines miningMarch 2009
A moratorium on new mining in the Philippines has been recommended by a British working group.
The UK-based Working Group on Mining in the Philippines, chaired by former international development minister Clare Short, says there should also be a review of existing projects and a withdrawal of international investment in mining until the country has procedures for protecting human rights and the environment.
Mining is ruining island environments and people’s livelihoods, particularly by undermining food production and sustainability, says a report by the group, Philippines – Mining or Food. It says proposals for more large-scale mining will cause further deforestation, the destruction of natural habitats and will threaten food production. Already the Philippines imports rice because its own production has declined.
Mining in the country is frequently associated with generating or exacerbating corruption, fuelling armed conflicts, increasing militarization and causing human rights abuses, including extra-judicial killings.
Short said the problem was exacerbated by the City of London’s role in financing mining, including operations in the Philippines, and the involvement of companies with a British base.
Companies whose mining plans are being challenged include BHP Billiton, Intex Resources, Philex Gold, TVI Pacific and Xstrata Copper. The Philippines government maintains that mining in the country is ‘sustainable’.
The working group, incorporating secular and church bodies in the Philippines, made its report public at a meeting in the UK parliament building.
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