KASAMA Vol. 10 No. 4 / October-November-December 1996 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

News from NORDIS:
Australian Mining Companies in the Philippines

Abra uplanders threaten war on Newcrest

BAGUIO CITY (NORDIS - October 31, 1996)

Tinggians living in the uplands of Abra said they will not hesitate to declare "war" on Newcrest Exploration, an Australian Mining company, if it continues to conduct mining exploration in the area.

Magno Dumas, 37, a farmer from Tubo, Abra said Newcrest’s exploration plan in the province is vehemently opposed by Tubo residents. "It will be war if Newcrest insists on operating in the area."

He said the mining company has been sending emissaries to meet with the Tubo community since March. The emissaries relentlessly tried to convince the residents to allow the mining company to operate in the area, but the residents repeatedly said no.

"The community folk are against the exploration, since large-scale mining will just destroy the lands nurtured by our forefathers and which were just passed on to us for stewardship," he said.

The mining company has two pending Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) applications in the Cordillera. The Newcrest FTAA application in Abra covers 13 municipalities, practically the whole of upland Abra.

Since the upland Abra communities expressed their opposition to the Newcrest exploration plan, they have also witnessed the entry of the military in the area. "There was no peace and order problem there," remarked Wesley Dawan, a small-scale miner from Malibcong, Abra. He added that Newcrest also tried to consult with them but they outrightly said no to the exploration.

He also disclosed that different companies with interests in mining, logging and hydropower development visited their area apparently prospecting for possible "business enterprises".

"We don’t know the agenda of these companies for visiting our place. But we came to know later that they wanted to do mining, logging and construct dams," he said.

Nevertheless, Dumas said, the barangay officials of upland Abra are also opposing the exploration. He added that even Governor Valera expressed his objection to the exploration in a speech he delivered during the Tribal Filipino Week celebration early this month. "He said the will of the people should be followed."

Annabelle Codiase/Northern Dispatch

Quirino residents will oppose Arimco operations if open pit mining is used

CABARRUGUIS, Quirino (NORDIS - Oct 18, 1996)

The Australian Mining Company (ARIMCO) has stopped its operations here since the fatal shooting several months back of its Canadian consultant, Colin Spence, allegedly by the NPA in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya.

Three barangays of Cabarruguis - Didipyo, Tukod and Dengasan - are covered by ARIMCO's mining permit. ARIMCO started operating in the town in 1993, and set up the center of its drilling operation in Didipyo where it also established its temporary office.

According to Municipal Councilor Crispin Delmas, residents did not express any strong objection to the company's tunnelling operation in Didipyo. But this, he said, was due to the community infrastructure projects undertaken by the company. The mining firm constructed a school building and a health center for the barangay and improved the barangay road from Tukod to Didipyo.

"But I am sure the residents will not like it if open pit mining will be used because many rice fields and swidden farms will be destroyed and the river which is rich in catfish and tilapia will be polluted," explained Delmas.

ARIMCO is one of two mining companies whose Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements have been approved by the government.

Johnny Fialen/Northern Dispatch

Small-scale mining is a major economic activity among the Ibaloi and Kankana-ey in Benguet. Grains containing gold ore, which have been pounded and run through a sluice box, are collected by women for a second milling.

Pen & ink drawing by Ben Cabrera from the series "Images of Women in the Cordillera", published by CWERC Inc., 1989.

Northern Dispatch (NORDIS) is a weekly packet of news, features & analysis produced by Cordillera Resource Center, Suite 314, Laperal Building, Session Road, Baguio City, Philippines.