Mindoro governor leads rally vs mining company

Date of publication: 
12 June, 2015

CITY OF CALAPAN—The provincial government is taking the lead in a rally against a mining firm here today, issuing a memorandum on June 9 requiring all officials and employees of capitol to take part in the protest action.

The memo was issued by Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr.

“To demonstrate our constant opposition and strong objection to the operation of Intex in the province…all will gather at the provincial government grounds at 2 p.m. and shall march together on JP Rizal Street and will gather near Citimart Island Mall for the program,” said Umali in his memo.

Attendance at the rally would be checked, the governor said. “Our collective stand will staunchly affirm our fight against large-scale mining and our passionate care for Mother Earth and the environment,” said the memo.

Among the environment organizations involved in the Independence Day rally is ABS-CBN’s Bantay Kalikasan.

Despite a 25-year mining moratorium, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last month reinstated the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of the Mindoro nickel project of Intex Resources ASA to mine ore in Mindoro, on condition that the company could not proceed with its mining activities if local governments oppose.

The Oriental Mindoro provincial government imposed a 25-year large-scale mining ban through an ordinance in January 2002. The same ordinance was cited by the provincial government when, in 2009, it opposed the ECC granted to Intex.

Among the grounds for the protests against the project was the location of its 12,000-hectare site, which is within a watershed and an ancestral domain area.

The ECC was temporarily revoked six years ago as a result of the 10-day hunger strike staged by Mindoro protesters, including tribal people and priests, in front of the DENR office in Manila.

After learning of the reinstatement of the ECC, Umali, on May 12, issued a “cease and desist order” to Intex Resources Philippines Inc., stopping it from any exploration, mining and related activities in the province.

On June 4, local officials, led by Vice Gov. Humerlito Dolor, met with environmentalists and other stakeholders, pledging the provincial government’s commitment to stop the Mindoro nickel project.

The Norway-based Intex on April 9 announced on its website the reinstatement of the ECC for its “world-class” Mindoro nickel project, which the company said was its “main asset.”

The project is expected to produce 100 to 120 million tons of ore over 15 to 20 years, the company said.Madonna T. Virola, Inquirer Southern Luzon