ZAMBALES MINES: A HIS­TORY OF QUES­TION­ABLE PRAC­TICES

Manila Times - - FRONT PAGE - KA­T­RINA STU­ART SAN­TI­AGO

BE­TWEEN the pro-min­ing stu­dents protest­ing against the Department of En­vi­ron­ment and and the in­sis­tence that we talk only about the jobs to be lost and the are be­ing dis­tracted from the more im­por­tant ques­tions about whether or not the min­ing projects that the DENR has or­dered closed have in fact been bad for the en­vi­ron­ment and our com­mu­ni­ties.

- ad­versely af­fected the en­vi­ron­ment and the com­mu­ni­ties that are in close prox­im­ity to the mines.

Case in point: Zambales.

2012: de­struc­tive min­ing

mis­sion on the ef­fects of min­ing on com­mu­ni­ties in Sta. Cruz Zambales. They found that the reper­cus­sions on the liveli­hood and health of the com­mu­nity out­weighed what­ever min­ing projects.

Work­ing for the mines might mean higher salaries but even the com­mu­nity re­al­ized that what they were get­ting in ex­change was en­vi­ron­men­tal degradation: rivers and creeks were stag­nant with orange-red was in­fected; rice farms that could pro­duce 70 to 100 ca­vans per hectare 30 to 50 ca­vans; ir­ri­ga­tion with red wa­ter pro­duces hard-as-ce­ment soil that ren­ders the farm un­pro­duc­tive forests in the Sta. Cruz moun­tains are from pumps cause skin dis­eases and

- mo­sphere here is in­tol­er­a­ble as trucks that carry ore from the min­ing site are The armed pri­vate se­cu­rity guards are - ing peo­ple from get­ting sup­plies from the for­est and moun­tains (Bu­lat­lat.

is­sued a writ of ka­likasan against - en­vi­ron­ment by cut­ting moun­tain trees and lev­el­ing a moun­tain to the dam­age and detri­ment of the res­i­dents of Zambales with­out any of the con­cerned gov­ern­ment agencies and

of the Zambales mines listed by the

2014, 2015: Sus­pen­sion, floods

the afore­men­tioned mines plus

“un­sys­tem­atic strip min­ing” (Rap­pler. com, July 4, 2014). In De­cem­ber 2014, the gave the mines per­mits to trans­port ore, say­ing this was needed to re­ha­bil­i­tate and com­pen­sate com­mu­ni­ties and pre­vent disaster. In Fe­bru­ary 2015, the sus­pen­sion was tem­po­rar­ily lifted; min­ing com­pa­nies had 90 days to com­ply with re­quire­ments in the sus­pen­sion or­der (Busi­ness Mir­ror, June 18, 2015).

nu­mer­ous com­plaints for the pol­lu­tion (Busi­ness Mir­ror, June 2015).

- lino: “With the rain that poured in our but the vol­ume of red mud is a dif­fer­ent case. We think nickel la­t­erite may sec­ond time that we ex­pe­ri­enced this, the dams of min­ing com­pa­nies were had th­ese kinds of prob­lems since min­ing started in 2011” (Hu­man Rights

Seven res­i­dents died in those “head - lands de­stroyed (Rap­pler.com, Fe­bru­ary

2016: Min­ing vs com­mu­nity

to­gether against min­ing com­pa­nies na­tional high­way. Note that in 2014 and 2015, the min­ing com­pa­nies had an agree­ment with lo­cal gov­ern­ments to build roads that lead to their sites; the min­ing com­pa­nies did not build roads and con­tin­ued to use the na­tional high­way (Rap­pler.com, Fe­bru­ary 10, 2016).

- bers of the com­mu­nity for block­ing their min­ing com­pa­nies would con­tinue (Bu­lat­lat.com, March 2, 2016).

- de­clared that “the eco­log­i­cal de­struc­tion caused by the decade-long nickel min nat­u­ral calami­ties” (Bu­lat­lat.com, March 4, 2016).

- that they were not hurt­ing the en­vi­ron­ment (Rap­pler.com, June 21, 2016).

In July 2016, the new DENR led by

In Fe­bru­ary 2017, the two mines plus of mines or­dered closed by the DENR.

His­toric end

avail­able sources, al­lows one to make have been or­dered closed by the DENR. on sci­ence to prove the ad­verse ef­fects of mines on the en­vi­ron­ment, that must be bal­anced out with the his­tory of protest against th­ese mines, based as this is on the sci­ence of en­vi­ron­men­tal degradation and the lives of peo­ple who have suf­fered in the hands of th­ese mines.

- spon­si­ble as they in­sist they are, there would be no need for spin or pro­pa­ganda on the “good” they are do­ing.

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