Cantilan.Net @ mining issue

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current issues

Unread post by sigwel »

Hi Bons,
long time no hear Dong...buotanir kaw gayud permi.Keep it that way, waray komo amo?

Aysus, layk adirs, mopahulay na dayon ako niton "mining" thing. Basta an ako sa kadayawan nan ato mga bata para sa ila kaugmaon-kahalawom naad-on kibale taraw an ako ama an galaong hehehe.

sibs, uno na aton? have fun dakan sa reunion! duha da bagan ka lomon ko an mokaton, an sa Illinois hasta isa sa TX. An mga bata waray moiban.

Na hala na kay BTW na sab ako hapit na.


Unread post by ROD @OZ »

Here's my unreserved veracity and heartfelt sentiments regarding the Mining issue at CCMCL, if i may intimately share this with all of you.

Foremost, you have to take into account that most of us who are very vocal in addressing this issue are mostly non-resident of CCMCL and have been residing overseas for quite sometime. Our only objective in initiating this drive is to make a difference to the residents of CCMCL and this endeavour is undertaken out of our own free will and most significantly launched out of concern, respect for nature and undying love for our townmates.

Folks, come to think of this seriuosly, why do you think we're earnest in educating CCMCL about the ill effects of mining considering we are miles away and we could have opted to ignore this issue as this is something that won't affect us in anyway, however, being a true CCMCL-anon, we felt we have a sense of responsibility to comport to the populace concerning their general safety and well being.

The hours spent in gathering informations and materials are proofs that Mining is not infact the only way to alleviate the peoples socio-economic condition but a pre-warning that this is a catastrophe waiting to happen. That when nature takes its course they'd be the first one who'd be devastated as a result, such as Boac-Boac mining disaster for instance. There are definitely other alternatives to uplift the peoples living condition, our local LGU's just have to tap and address this other issue.

Moreso, if i may touch our Mining history slightly, this has been in operation for decades before it was halted due to variuos disasters yet, there is not much evidence of prosperity to the local and national economy. We're still indebted heavily, god knows where did the profit / income go after all of those years of operations. So what differece would this make now when the people in the government are so corrupt and futhermore, our mining laws favours foriegn companies and they're not as strict as those of first world countries. Thus, to allow the resumption of
Mining is like putting the other foot in the grave.

Now my dear friends, this is voice coming straight from the bottom of my heart taking to your hearts and i am urging you to rally behind this vigorous endeavour as tomorrow might be too late.


Unread post by ROD @OZ »

To understand mining: Starting from the beginning

Mining is the series of activities referring to the discovery and extraction of minerals lying under the surface of the earth. Minerals can be metal (such as gold and copper) or non-metal (such as coal, asbestos and gravel). Metals are mixed with many other elements, but occasionally large quantities of certain metals can be found concentrated in a relatively small area - the deposit - from which one or more metals can be mined with financial benefit. The impacts of mining are related to mining itself, to the elimination of the residues from the mine, to the transportation of the mineral and to its processing, which frequently involves or produces hazardous substances.

Mines vary in size, from small operations producing less than 100 tons per day, to large mines moving hundreds of thousands of tons. The method of exploitation used to mine specific mineral deposits depends on the type, size and depth of the mineral deposit and the economic and financial aspects of the undertaking.
Until the middle of the twentieth century, underground mining was the method most commonly used to extract large deposits. Following the Second World War, technological progress and the development of larger and more powerful machinery such as bulldozers, levellers, power shovels and trucks, made it possible to move enormous quantities of material, promoting the exploitation of opencast mines. However, underground mines still exist such as the Witwatersrand gold mines in South Africa --the deepest in the world-- or the El Teniente mine in Chile --the largest underground mine in the world-- or Olympic Dam in Australia. An underground mine is reached by a shaft or a decline spiral, leading to the galleries and production levels that are interconnected by raises and winzes used to transport the mineral and workers. Drills and explosives are used to break up the ore --the mixture of minerals from which one or more metals can be extracted-- underground. Generally, this type of mining has less impact on the environment than opencast mines. There is less disturbance of the ground's surface, but all the same, it can have effects on the water by contaminating it with acids and metals and by intercepting aquifers. The workers are exposed to more hazardous situations than those working in opencast mines, due to the risk of collapse, poor air quality and underground explosions. Progressively, companies have abandoned this method due to a problem of profitability, although minerals such as coal, nickel, zinc or lead are still usually mined underground.

Presently, over 60% of the materials mined in the world are extracted by the opencast method, causing devastation of the ecosystem where they are operating (deforestation, contamination and alteration of the water, destruction of habitats). Within this type of mining we may distinguish, among others, open cast mines (usually for hard rock metals), quarries (for industrial building materials such as sand, granite, slate, marble, gravel, clay, etc.), and leach mining (the application of chemical products to filter and separate the metal from the rest of the minerals).
Opencast mines look like a series of terraces arranged in great deep wide pits in the middle of a desolated and stark landscape, lacking any living resources. The operation usually starts with removal of the vegetation and the soil, followed by extensive dynamiting and removal of the rocks and materials above the ore until the deposit is reached, which is again dynamited to obtain smaller pieces. The new technologies, enabling better performance in the speed of extraction and processing of the minerals, increase environmental problems, as the waste materials do not normally revert to restoring the site.

Quarries are surface mines, very similar to open cast mines, as the end result of their exploitation is also a desolated landscape with deep trenches between wide steps. The aggression to the environment that this type of mining generates is more serious due to its proximity to urban zones, as the reduction of transportation costs is sought to make the quarries more profitable. This proximity causes further environmental problems, because the excavation sites, already lacking vegetation, end up by becoming urban waste dumps, in addition to affecting surface and groundwater near them.

In leach mining, chemicals are used (such as sulphuric acid in the case of copper or a solution of cyanide and sodium in the case of gold) to dissolve (leach) the metals in question from the mineral containing them, obtaining a very high rate of recovery. In situ leaching involves boring the intact rock with drills and adding the solvent, whereas the very frequent type of heap leaching is done on heaps of crushed minerals. The chemical solutions used not only release the desired metals but also mobilize other heavy metals such as cadmium, thus contaminating surface and groundwater.

Even though the environmental impacts of mining vary according to the type of mineral and the mine, this is intrinsically an unsustainable activity, as it implies the exploitation of a non-renewable resource by means of destructive or contaminating methods, such as crushing, grinding, washing and classifying minerals, refining and casting. Mining is presently doubly destructive both due to its large scale and to technology, which has increased its productive capacity.

- Mining: More a curse than a blessing

There is now compelling evidence that mining severely limits a nation's ability to sustain economic growth (even within the narrow definitions usually adhered to by nation states). This is a surprising "discovery" for those who think that "riches" in the ground are unfailingly translated into money in the bank. But for those who adopt an anti-colonialist analysis of capital accumulation, the fundamental reason for the discrepancy is not hard to find. Zaire, Bolivia and Sierra Leone are not merely "poor" -they have been ruthlessly impoverished over hundreds of years. Much of the crippling "foreign debt" carried by the world's "poorest" nations is actually interest supposedly owed on capital which has never been invested in people self-development at all. Instead, it has gone to building mines, dams, mills, power and processing plants in order to transform "natural" capital -not only iron, copper, bauxite, diamonds, but water, land and air- into exportable value.

People have extracted minerals from the earth since ancient times. Babylonians, Assyrians, and Byzantines mined for copper and lead thousands of years ago in what is today southern Jordan, for example. Since the Industrial Revolution, however, minerals have been extracted and used in much larger quantities. In recent times, this trend has accelerated greatly: in1999, some 9.6 billion tons of marketable minerals were dug out of the earth, nearly twice as much as in 1970. This figure accounts for minerals that finally reach markets, but does not include the wastes generated in producing these minerals --the unused portion of the ore (the rock or earth that contains minerals), or the earth moved to reach the ore, which is known as over-burden. If these categories were included in the total amount of materials mined each year, the figure would be considerably larger.

Industrial countries consume more than two thirds of the annual production of the nine major minerals. The United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Western Europe, with 15 percent of the world's population, together consume most of the metals produced each year: about 61 percent of all aluminum, 60 percent of lead, 59 percent of copper, and 49 percent of steel. On a per capita basis, the different levels of consumption are especially marked: the average US citizen uses 22 kilograms of aluminum a year, the average Indian uses 2 kilograms, and the average African uses just 0.7 kilograms.
However, local communities and tribal peoples from resource-rich countries are the most affected by the detrimental environmental, cultural, social and health effects of mining exploration and exploitation activities. Urged by macroeconomic policies pushed by international credit and commercial institutions, many impoverished countries embrace mining as a "staple" activity to generate much needed foreign exchange. There are cases where at least 40% of exports hinge on a single mineral product, as is the case with the copper in Zambia, diamonds in Botswana, Central African Republic, Gambia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, aluminium in Guinea and Suriname, iron ore in Mauritania. Though these are rather old data (from 1994), they illustrate a still prevailing trend. Twelve of the world's 25 most mineral-dependent states --most of them concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa-- are classified by the World Bank as "highly-indebted poor countries" --the most troubled category of states.

The imposed process of market deregulation and liberalisation has led to privatisation and tax exemptions which have benefited foreign mining corporations. On the other hand, according to a United Nations report, the more that southern countries rely on exporting minerals, the worse their standard of living is likely to be. Higher levels of mineral dependence are strongly correlated with higher poverty and child malnutrition and mortality rates. They are also associated with income inequality, low spending levels on health care, low enrolment rates in primary and secondary schools, and low rates of adult literacy, as well as higher vulnerability to economic shocks. Recent academic studies reveal that overall living standards in mineral dependent states tend to suffer from unusually high rates of corruption, authoritarian government, government ineffectiveness, military spending, and civil war.

With the exception of mercury, asbestos and lead -specifically targeted for their environmental toxicity- the output of major metals has been increasing in an exponential fashion which has virtually nothing to do with satisfying basic human needs but much with the corporations' sheer and unquenchable thirst for profit. There has been a lot of movement within the mining industry in the last years. Mining companies have streamlined their operations as well as gone into mergers and acquisitions to maintain, consolidate, strengthen and expand mining transnationals' global reach of operation. A growing concentration of investment has been in the search for gold and diamonds, which are attractive for their profitability rather than their usefulness.

Although the international mining scenario includes a relatively big number of companies, only a few --getting increasing larger through mergers-- seem to dominate the scenario. Most of them originate from a handful of countries, among which the most important are Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Well known companies from those countries include Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold Corporation, Freeport MacMoran, BHP-Billiton, Newmont, Placer Dome and many other. Examples of the impacts of their operations are recorded in this bulletin. However, other internationally smaller actors may be extremely important at the local level and examples are also provided. Regardless of their international importance they all have two things in common: they are extremely profitable and extremely damaging.

On the other side, mining can be very lucrative for the companies, but not for the local communities in areas where mineral resources are extensive. As the more easily accessible mineral deposits are worked out, a hunger for new cheap sources drives the industry into intensified exploration increasingly into indigenous territories. Communities who have been previously dependent on the renewable natural resources, suffer immediate losses as a result of large-scale mining activities. They see their livelihoods undermined, their social organisations disrupted and their cultures transformed. Cash compensations, if paid, cannot restore these losses and the dark legacy of mining continues even after a mine is abandoned. Lost jobs and livelihoods in agriculture, fisheries and small-scale mining often heavily outnumber the mining jobs on offer. Local people often also lack the skills to benefit from anything but the shortest term and lowest paid jobs available.

Despite the promise of wealth that mineral development holds, in reality, the presence of mineral wealth can even hold back national and local development. According to a 1999 study from Arborvitae (IUCN, WWF), southern countries "rich in mineral resources tend to have slower rates of economic growth, lower levels of social welfare and more highly skewed income distributions than non-mineral developing countries. In fact, the superior resources base of the mineral economies has been more a curse than a blessing".

The promotion of large-scale mining thus entrenches policies, institutions and mind-sets that visualise "development" as a top-down enterprise to be imposed on local communities and environments --the very antithesis of an environmentally friendly approach focused on fulfilling the economic, social and cultural needs of people and future generations.

Environmental and social impacts of mining

Mining is a short-term activity with long-term effects. There can be no doubt that when it takes place in forest zones, it is a factor of degradation. It is calculated that, together with oil prospecting, mining is threatening 38% of the last stretches of the world's primary forests.
Mining activities are carried out in various stages, each of them involving specific environmental impacts. Broadly speaking, these stages are: deposit prospecting and exploration, mine development and preparation, mine exploitation, and treatment of the minerals obtained at the respective installations with the aim of obtaining marketable products.
During the prospecting phase, among other activities having an impact on the environment are the preparation of routes of access, topographic and geological mapping, establishment of camps and auxiliary facilities, geophysical works, hydro-geological research, opening up of reconnaissance trenches and pits, taking of samples.

During the exploitation phase, the impacts depend on the method used. In forest zones, the mere deforestation of the land with the consequent elimination of vegetation --greater in the case of opencast mines-- has short, medium and long-term impacts. Deforestation not only affects the habitat of hundreds of endemic species (many doomed to extinction), but also the maintenance of a constant flow of water from the forests towards other ecosystems and urban centres. Deforestation of primary forests causes a rapid and fluid runoff of rainwater, increasing flooding in rainy periods because the soil cannot contain the water as it does when covered by forest.

In addition to the area disturbed by the excavation, the damage caused by mines on the surface due to the consequent erosion and silting (sedimentation of the watercourse beds) is made more serious due to heaps of rock residues lacking economic value (known as tailings), that usually form great mounds, sometimes larger than the area given over to excavation.

The enormous consumption of water required by mining activities generally reduces the water table around the site drying up wells and springs. Water usually ends up being contaminated by the acid drainage, that is, exposure to air and water of the acids formed in certain types of ore --particularly sulphuric acids-- as a result of mining activities, which in turn react with other exposed minerals. A self-perpetuated dumping of acid toxic material is generated that can go on for hundreds or even thousands of years. Furthermore, the small particulates of heavy metals that with time separate from the waste, are disseminated by the wind, landing on the soil and in the beds of watercourses and slowly integrating the tissues of living organisms, such as fish.

Hazardous chemicals used in the various stages of metal processing, such as cyanide, concentrated acids and alkaline compounds, although supposedly controlled, usually end up, one way or another, in the drainage system. The alteration and contamination of the water cycle has very serious side effects that affect surrounding ecosystems --especially more so in forests-- and people.

Air pollution can be caused by the dust generated by mining activities, a serious cause of illnesses, generally in the form of respiratory troubles in people and asphyxia of plants and trees. Furthermore, usually, a release of gases and toxic vapour takes place: sulphur dioxide --responsible for acid rain-- is produced because of metal treatment, and carbon dioxide and methane --two of the main greenhouse effect gases causing climate change-- are also released, due to the burning of fossil fuels and the creation of artificial lakes for the hydroelectric dams, built to provide energy for the casting ovens and refineries.

Additionally, mining activities consume enormous quantities of wood for their construction --in the case of underground mines-- and as a source of energy for mines with charcoal-fuelled casting ovens. Also, when carried out in remote zones, mining activities imply major works such as road building (opening access to the forests), ports, mining villages, the deviation of rivers, construction of dams and energy generating plants.
The deafening sound of the machinery used in mining and the blasting cannot be considered as minor impacts either because they create conditions that may become unbearable for the local populations and the forest wildlife.

It is argued that mining is vital for industrialization, because it provides raw material and sources of energy. However, the present disproportionate concentration of investment on gold and diamond-seeking, marginal for industrial production, refute the sector's social justification for its activities. In 2001, 82% of the gold refined found its way to the jewellery market and it is worth remembering that to make a gold ring, the average amount of rock waste generated in a mine is over 3 tons. In the United States, the Pegasus Gold company caused the Spirit Mountain in Montana to disappear, replacing what had been a sacred tribal place by an opencast gold mine. Over the next 1,000 years, the site will continue to distil acid into the region's watershed.

Throughout history, the various gold rushes have brought death and devastation to the local populations. From the Sioux of the Black Hills, to the Aborigines around Bendigo in Australia, the history of gold is tainted with blood; and today Amazonian tribes, like the Yanomami and Macuxi, the Galamsey of West Africa, and the Igorot of the Philippines, are similarly endangered.

Mining comes along with its promise of wealth and jobs, but millions are those throughout the whole world who can testify to the high social costs that it brings with it: appropriation of the land belonging to the local communities, impacts on health, alteration of social relationships, destruction of forms of community subsistence and life, social disintegration, radical and abrupt changes in regional cultures, displacement of other present and/or future local economic activities. All this is added to the hazardous and unhealthy working conditions of this type of activity.

It may be held that many of the affected communities have given their consent. However, it is hard to speak of previous, genuine informed consent, as they do not have the opportunity to fully understand what is waiting for them when they are asked to place their signature on the dotted line at the foot of a contract. For this reason, mechanisms to enable indigenous and local communities to effectively participate in decision-making processes are called for, together with legislation enabling them to reject this type of undertaking in their territories.
If there are people who want to wear gold anyway, or use it to fill cavities, or for micro-circuitry in computers and cell phones, that is all well and good but as someone proposed, take it from recycled sources. Of the 125,000 tons of gold extracted from the ground, more than 35,000 tons lie in the vaults of central reserve banks. The US Federal Reserve holds 8,145 tons of gold, approximately 6% of all the gold ever mined. What would be better than recycling it from the bank vaults!

- Mining with mercenary armies

A growing number of new corporate security operations around the world link former intelligence officers, standing armies, and death squad veterans. They go into battle for new bosses: the mineral industries.
The advent of new technologies such as computer-aided satellite mapping and the use of cyanide to extract gold have turned formerly marginal operations into potential moneymakers (for transnationals). The collapse of the Soviet Union and the signing of the global free trade agreements have opened up countries like Angola that were previously off-bounds to Western multinationals. And lastly, the availability of capital and the mitigation of risk have been ensured by the push from the international financial institutions, such as bilateral and multilateral agencies including the World Bank and the US Export-Import Bank. They are eager to provide cash and political risk insurance for private resource extraction projects pretty much anywhere in the world.

Some years ago, Tim Spicer, former member of the British Special Air Services (SAS), had met with two senior government officials about buying a copper mine owned by Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian mining titan, on the island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Less than a month later, Spicer was led into a Papua New Guinea court for being contracted with the disgraced government to provide a mercenary force to take over the copper mine. His mission had been to defeat a small group of freedom fighters who had shut down the copper mine for almost a decade. When news of Spicer's contract became public, ordinary citizens and local army officers took the law into their own hands. The rioting closed shops, banks and schools and sealed off major roads until truckloads of police armed with automatic rifles eventually dispersed the enraged populace with teargas and rubber bullets (see WRM Bulletin Nº 7).
Two unnamed ex-SAS officers in Colombia fared better. Their black boxes full of guns and ammunition had been waved through the checkpoint run by a colleague, Bill Nixon, a former British intelligence officer, whose new job was providing security at the private airport owned by British Petroleum (BP). All three mercenaries had been on contract to BP to help train the Colombian police --notorious for their human rights abuses-- to protect the Dele-B oil rig. The oil company interpreted security concerns broadly. According to a report commissioned by the Colombian government, BP collaborated with local soldiers involved in kidnappings, torture, and murder. The unpublished document alleges that the oil company compiled intelligence --including photos and video tapes of local people protesting oil activities-- and passed the information on to the Colombian military which then arrested or kidnapped demonstrators as "subversives."

Most of the men running the mercenary-for-hire operations tend to operate behind the lines, preferring to employ other men --local or imported hired guns-- to carry out on-the-ground operations. Both the Colombian and Papua New Guinean contracts were handled out of London offices run by yet more former SAS officers, such as Anthony Buckingham, who is one of the shadier operators in the security business, running a mini-conglomerate of mercenary, oil, and mining companies out of discreet offices in London.

The most infamous mercenary army contracted by the new colonialists is Executive Outcomes (EO) which provided Buckingham and Spicer with soldiers-for-hire in Papua New Guinea. But EO' most famous campaign was in Sierra Leone in May 1996. The EO mercenaries arrived in Sierra Leone better equipped than most armies in Africa, with Russian helicopter gunships, a radio intercept system, two Boeing 727s to transport troops and supplies, an Andover casualty-evacuation aircraft, and fuel-air explosives. Used with devastating results by the US in the Gulf war, fuel-air explosives --one step below nuclear weapons in power-- suck out oxygen upon detonation, killing all life within a square-mile radius. The operation left EO with a lucrative security contract financed by the profits earned by the diamond mines.

But they are by no means the only major players. There are at least a few dozen others in the mineral industries, which provide "security" services to companies and governments in Colombia, Guyana, and Venezuela in South America; to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone in West Africa; to Angola; and Namibia in southern Africa; to former Zaire in central Africa; to Sudan and Uganda in East Africa; to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia in the Pacific; and to Kazakhstan in Central Asia. Many of these recruits are veterans of South Africa's 32 Battalion and Civil Cooperation Bureau which were the most notorious units of the old apartheid forces until elections brought a multi-racial government to power a few years ago.

Meanwhile, UK-based mining company Rio Tinto in Indonesia has made efforts to convince the world of its commitment to human rights. For the past two years, it has contributed funds to the Yap Thiam Hien Human Rights Award. This year, the award was won by human rights defender and poet Wiji Thukul, who has been missing since 1996. In December, the family refused the award on the grounds that Rio Tinto was involved in several human rights violations at its mining operations in Indonesia and was responsible for the 1992 arrest of demonstrators who were demanding proper compensation for the use of their land.

In a statement supporting the family's stance, Indonesian NGOs JATAM, WALHI and TATR list some of the human rights violations involving Rio Tinto, including those at the PT KEM mine in East Kalimantan, investigated by Indonesia's National Human Rights Commission in 1999 and 2000. These covered cases of sexual abuse and rape against sixteen women between the ages of nine and eighteen; the arrest of 15 demonstrators in 1992 and the subsequent death of one of them; forced eviction by the Indonesian military of traditional miners and burning of hundreds of houses between 1982 and 1991. The statement also lists Rio Tinto's involvement in cases through its shareholdings in the Freeport Indonesia copper and gold mine in West Papua (Rio Tinto has a 15% share); the Kaltim Prima Coal mine (co-owned with BP); Papua New Guinea's Lihir gold mine and the Panguna mine on Bougainville. The statement calls on the executors of the Yap Thiam Hien Award Program no longer to accept funding from human rights violators. "The human rights violators must not be given the opportunity to wash themselves clean of responsibility for their actions…"

- The impacts of mining on women

While mining has negative impacts on all those who live in the mining communities in general and those who are affected by the mining operations, there are distinct impacts and added burdens on women.
The differentiated impacts can be begun to be understood in concrete situations, such as that faced by a Dayak woman affected by a mine owned by the company PT-IMK in Indonesia.

"Mrs Satar had a field as large as 10 to 15 hectares on the community's traditional land. Upon this land, she could harvest enough produce for one year, in fact sometimes more. With the introduction of the mining into her community, she lost all but one hectare of her land to the mining company. Consequently, she had to buy approximately 3 sacks of rice per month at a cost of Rp39,000 per sack (price at January 1998). In addition, the mining company's operations polluted the river, which could no longer be used to meet household needs, and no longer produced fish. Previously, Satar had cooked fresh fish each day for her family. Now, as a result of the pollution, she has to buy salted fish. If there is enough money, she purchases 2 kilos of salted fish a month at Rp15,000 per kilo. To obtain bathing and drinking water, Satar must walk a long way to a water source that is not affected by the company's tailings. Satar's livelihood is further threatened by the loss of her two water buffalos, found dead at the edge of the contaminated river."

It is also necessary to understand that companies usually enter into negotiations only with men, excluding women also from the royalties or compensation payments. They even have little or no control over and access to any of the benefits of mining developments, especially money and employment. Thus, women are deprived of their traditional means of occupation and become more dependent on men, who are more likely to be able to access and control these benefits.

Large-scale mining entails the replacement of subsistence economies which have nurtured generations of communities and Indigenous Peoples with a cash-based economy. The new market-based economy implies a significant erosion or destruction of traditional values and customs which have been crucial in sustaining community, tribal, clan and family solidarity and unity. In such process, women become marginalised since their traditional roles as food gatherers, water providers, care-givers and nurturers are very much affected. Economic visibility depends on working in the public sphere and unpaid work in the home or community is categorised as "unproductive, unoccupied and economically inactive".
Whereas both men and women had previously been in charge of farming activities, now men have to go out for a wage, thereby increasing women's workload and responsibilities, leading to more stress and tensions. Additionally, the environmental destruction caused by large-scale mining has also decreased the productivity of the fields and poisoned wildfoods, marine life, animals. Many women are pushed to enter into the informal economy to find additional sources of income.

Whilst large-scale mining has limited scope for women's employment, the small-scale sector absorbs women as contract or bonded labour under highly exploitative conditions. In India, for example, women's wages are always less than that of men, safety standards are non-existent, paid holidays are not allowed even during pregnancy or childbirth, work equipment is not provided, and there are no toilets or facilities available. Unemployed women living in mining communities eke out their livelihood by scavenging on the tailings and waste dumps, often illegally, and suffer from the constant harassment of company guards, local Mafia and the police. They are exposed to the physical and sexual exploitation of the mine-owners, contractors and miners and are at the mercy of local traders when selling their ores. In addition, women work with toxic, hazardous substances and suffer from several occupational illnesses including respiratory and reproductive problems, silicosis, tuberculosis, leukemia, and arthritis.

Alcohol abuse, drug addiction, prostitution, gambling, incest, and infidelity are increasing in many mining communities. These have worsened cases of family violence against women, active and often brutal discrimination in the workplace that is often sanctioned or ignored by judicial and political institutions. Even men-led workers' organisations usually do not raise cases of human rights violations against women. The orientation of discussions between these organisations and mining companies is directed towards economic issues, such as wage increases, subsidies and so on.

In sum mining --be it small or large-scale-- is resulting in a large number of specific impacts on women, who are losing out in almost all aspects related to the development of this activity. The wealth generated by mining further pushes women into poverty, dispossession and social exclusion.

- Mining Companies Muscle in on Protected Areas

Mining companies were shocked by a 'Recommendation' passed by the World Conservation Congress in Amman in 2002, which called for an end to oil, mining and gas extraction from all protected areas in IUCN categories I, II, III and IV ('strict nature reserves', 'wilderness areas', 'national parks', 'natural monuments' and 'habitat management areas'). Many NGOs were equally surprised by the mining industries' reaction: what did the companies think these areas were meant to be protected from if not from unsustainable activities like mining? Indeed some went further, why does the Amman decision implicitly allow mining in protected areas in IUCN categories V and VI -- 'managed landscapes and seascapes' and 'managed resource protected areas'?

Controversy over the relationship between extractive industries and protected areas has rumbled on since that date. IUCN Council members and general members raised an outcry later last year when the IUCN Secretariat announced in the context of the World Summit on Sustainable Development that it was developing a new 'partnership' with the extractive industries. The language had to be toned down as a result of the outrage. The IUCN now speaks of being engaged in a 'dialogue' with the industries, but, whatever the term used, the reality is much the same.
The 'partnership' or 'dialogue' forms part of a wider strategy by the extractive industries' to rehabilitate their dirty image, tarnished by a trail of oil leaks, tanker wrecks, tailings dams bursts, cyanide and mercury spills, ruined landscapes, despoiled river systems, toxic waste dumps, polluted ecosystems, violated human rights and shattered livelihoods. The new talk of the industries' PR promoters and spin doctors is of 'sustainable mining', 'landscape restoration' and 'corporate responsibility' --the Global Mining Initiative is one part of this, the tie up with the IUCN another.

The fact is that the extractive industries need to be able to get access to minerals, oil and gas reserves wherever they are found in lucrative quantities: putting IUCN category I-IV areas off limits hurts them. Now they are wondering: just who decides how to apply these categories and what legal status do they have? To help answer such questions a number of companies including British Petroleum plc, Shell plc and the International Council for Mining and Metals are co-sponsoring a study co-financed by IUCN, WWF and Conservation International which will report to the World Parks Congress in September 2003. As it happens, the study itself, 'Speaking a Common Language', looks like being a useful one ( Yet, the whole experience has come as a sharp jolt to those who put faith in the protected area system. If the system is not now to be undermined by the extractive industries, it will need vigilant policing by civil society and measures to ensure that the IUCN does not step out of line again.


Unread post by ROD @OZ »

Mining's Problem With Waste:

Safe disposal of mine waste, including tailings, is generally recognized as the single largest environmental challenge facing the mining industry worldwide and a major expense for mining companies.

Modern open-pit mining has a very high waste-to-product ratio (roughly 99 tonnes of waste to each tonne of copper, and even far more waste in gold mining), making waste the major product of mining. The Canadian mineral industry generates about 650 million tonnes of waste per year.1 The storage of this waste poses significant engineering challenges. All over the world, tailingsdams are leaking, or breaking, and seeping toxins on a daily basis; but recent environmental and social disasters in Romania, Guyana, Spain, and the Philippines—caused by tailings-dams that burst—have served to focus public attention on this problem.

Mine waste poses an environmental threat not only through its volume but also because of its toxicity. Mine tailings commonly contain sulfides as well as metals—such as cadmium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, silver, and zinc—that occur naturally in the ore body. When sulfides in the tailings are exposed to air they oxidize. If oxidized tailings come into contact with water, environmentally toxic sulfuric acid is produced. This process is known as Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). The sulfuric acid also accelerates metal leaching in tailings. Acid Mine Drainage can have a toxic impact on ground and surface water around mines. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, water contamination from mining poses one of the top three ecological security threats in the world.

Submarine Tailings Disposal

What is STD?

STD is Submarine Tailings Disposal - the disposal of dangerous mine waste into the ocean. This waste disposal is polluting coastal environments at several operating STD mines in the Asia Pacific. It has been imposed on a number of communities in the region without their informed consent.

What are tailings? Tailings are simply mining waste. In a typical metal mining operation, tailings consist of crushed rock and ore, after most of the target metals have been removed. Mine tailings are often toxic, and if not contained, are harmful to the environment.

In STD, mines pipe their tailings to the ocean, then run another pipe out into coastal waters, where the tailings spill out over the sea floor, and may disperse in coastal currents. Off the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia, an enormous pipe releases 160,000 tons of tailings per day into coastal waters.

STD is used more and more by mining companies from rich countries in their operations in poorer countries, where they can often get around environmental restrictions and are not accountable to local communities. STD is effectively illegal in the USA, Canada and Australia. The world's biggest mining companies like Newmont, Placer Dome, Rio Tinto and BHP are based in these wealthy countries. Yet these same companies are operating or planning STD at mines throughout the Asia-Pacific region that would clearly not be permitted in their own countries.

STD costs less than land-based disposal because it does not require the construction of dams or long-term responsibility for the effects of tailings. As far as the mining company is concerned, once the waste is released into the sea, it is "out of sight, out of mind".

STD is being promoted by the mining industry as the safest method of getting rid of its wastes. Affected communities in Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and elsewhere don't believe this. Their lives depend on the coastal waters, and they report that mining companies dumping waste in the ocean have hurt their livelihoods and their health.

There are few independent laboratory or field studies into the environmental impacts of STD. Most of the information which does exist about STD is written by or for the mining companies using the technique. In addition to this, companies often refuse to release the information to the public.

Mine waste on the loose

The aim of an STD operation is to have the tailings travel from the mouth of the underwater pipe in a continuous current to the sea floor. That's the theory. In practice, it is inevitable that substantial quantities of mine waste will separate from the main tailings flow and form plumes of waste that will spread out across the ocean. Different currents can carry these plumes into surface waters. The mine waste that reaches the sea floor doesn't necessarily stay there. It is almost certain that deepsea currents will move tailings away from the disposal area. Deep-sea storms and turbulence can stir settled waste up. But the most serious problem is related to upwelling. Upwelling is the term used to describe the movement of deep ocean water to the surface of the sea. This usually occurs along the coastline, and under normal circumstances is one of the most productive marine processes because it provides food, for fish and other animals. Upwellings are often the site of the best fishing. Unfortunately, upwelling can also bring mine waste back to the surface of the ocean, where it is most dangerous to marine life.


A major deep-water impact of STD is typically the smothering of hundreds of square kilometers of seafloor under hundreds of millions of tons of tailings. The exact impact of this in many operations can only be guessed, since proper scientific research has not been done. But miners admit that those sea floor organisms which don't simply die from being buried under mine waste will instead become contaminated with toxic metals to an unknown extent. Miners dismiss these organisms as unimportant since they live deep under the sea. But these animals form part of the ocean's food chain, and more mobile predators that feed on them can carry the toxic metals further afield and upwards, acting as a biological "pump" mechanism to bring contamination to shallower waters.


People living on the coasts of the archipelagos of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific depend on the sea for their livelihood. STD has been linked to toxic contamination in fish and eventually deters them from entering dumping areas. Fish catches and local incomes then decline drastically. STD also wipes out bottom-dwelling fish and other organisms, and affects coral ecosystems, potentially threatening rare species and adding to the decline of coral reefs worldwide.

One example of a toxin that can enter the marine environment when STD is used is ammonia. This chemical, which is used in nickel plants, can be deadly to marine life, or in smaller amounts can damage fish's gills, interfere with reproduction and stunt growth. The toxic metals in tailings often include mercury, cadmium, nickel, chromium and arsenic. Apart from direct toxicity, fine particles of mine waste make water muddy, which interferes with fishing, and with the breeding and migration of many species of fish that depend on clear water.

Fish that can be caught are hard to sell because of health fears in the market. Communities without other economic resources are forced to eat contaminated fish. Not only are local communities impoverished, but strong evidence suggests they suffer serious health damage, ranging from skin disease to paralysis.


Unread post by ROD @OZ »

Mina Sa AdLay
by: Kon Duna Kay Kasakit
(article taken at

I have read with interest the exchange of ideas expressed about mining in Carrascal. I find that disagreement is a healthy sign of a dynamic soceity/group. That said, we need to take the high road by avoiding name calling, accusing people of hiding identity from his/her username etc. What I am saying is just present your case and let the readers form their opinion.

I always believe that there is no monopoly of knowledge and between the door of the known and the unknown, the unknown wins most of the time. I look at this topic not in technical terms but on a layman's point of view and practical sense.

No nation, NO MATTER HOW ADVANCED, is immune to environmental problems. In the year 2000, the American conscience was stirred by the award winning performance of Julia Roberts on the true to life story of Erin Brockovich about contamination of a local water district resulting in deaths/illness. Here in the United States, there are clusters of Cancer stricken victims in given localities due to toxic dumps. Millions or billions are spent cleaning asbestos (once regarded as a state of the art product). Pesticides is drawing alarming consequences. DDT whom I remembered as being sprayed in our ricefields before is now known as causing cancer and along with other chemicals, has been a subject of a study in Long Island, New York about the upsurge of breast cancer in the area.

These are but a few and what I am driving at is that if this is happening in the US, it is all the more happening in other countries. Australia may not have uncovered as much because of its vast land area and sparse population, but it doesn't mean it is not there.

Due to lack of tracking and monitoring, do we really know how many are affected by the cement dust at Pacemco or sawdust in the Veneer plant? I do remember that "pagkamarduyom, pirmi mahorot an tuba kay dakan kuno malimpio an baga nan mga trabajante".

Going back to mining in our province, where will the waste go? With profit as the corporate bottom line, will these mining companies create state of the art landfills? I doubt that they will and not in my dreams. What experience do we have in case of mining in Placer. "Waya may tag-bantog na nasapian did-on" despite the truck loads of gold bars taken from the area. What return of investments was made to the town by the mining companies? When they're done, what interest will they have in cleaning up? Finally, when they're gone, who are left to suffer the ill effects?

Use of natural resources is a way for countries to alleviate their coffers. I am not against progress and if mining is done in the Diwata mountains, I don't think we will be talking or discussing this right now. When it is right at your doorstep, it is a different story. Why put people's health and livelihood at risk? Responsible Governance is easy to say. With the Philippines judged by watchdogs as one of the top in the most corrupt category, how can we assure ourselves that adequate protection is possible. Who are we kidding?

Someone alluded that mining could be a catalyst to educate our children. The evolution of education in the CCMCL area is one that we should be proud of. Our quest for higher education is legendary and probably tops in the country. People from all walks of life left our province and just to cite one example, Carcanmadcarlanons ended up as Security guards in the cities. A good friend of mine used to say, "Sa una, ako an mag-abrihay nan puerta sa bangko, kuman ako na an abrihan". He was saying this as the bank Branch manager.

Let us not therefore deride our educational achievements because we have made significant inroads in this regard. A person armed with ambition will find a way. We now have colleges in Cantilan. Isn't this something? Whenever I talk to non-surigaonons, I pride myself that there are no hacienderos in our province and that almost everybody owns a piece of land. This has been a source of funds for those pursuing higher education (admitting that isahay mahiprenda intawon).

Some of you have expressed how then could we advance ourselves if we don't go into mining?

During the balik CCMCL in 2002, I can't help but marvel how beautiful our valley really is. We certainly made progress in ecotourism. With surfing in our area getting the attention it deserves, developing our area as a tourist destination is one way. With the Tourism Secretary having roots in our area (son of Elizabeth Hotchkiss Durano from Carrascal), it is not far fetched that we could sway tourism development money in our area.

We have built a modern pier in Consuelo. Why not make this as a medium for commerce and transportation. If we have a liner that travels from Cebu to Cantilan, this will circumvent the dreaded red mountains (not to mention the unsolved and recurring "tulis-tulis"). Why build it in the first place if we are not going to fully utilize it? A supercat ride would be nice even if it is only once a week to start with.

When I came to the US twenty years or so ago, my love for our homeplace all the more grow. I know that I will be going back and I planned to retire early or in the fifties. I have reached that age and I plan to give something back to my birthplace, Cantilan. I therefore enjoin all Carcanmadcarlanons wheresoever dispersed to make CCMCL as a place where you can retire. Not only will you live as a king or queen (even without a kingdom) but this is where we can make economic impact.

Assume for a moment that 100 couples will move back to CCMCL with a monthly pension of $2,000 US dollars per month per couple. Let us further assume that these couples will reserve $1,000 for their travel and medical nest egg and spend $1,000 locally. This would mean $100,000 or P5.5 million pesos every month being added to the local economy or roughly 60 million year in, year out. Can you imagine if all of our towns will have 100 couples each. We can build a state of the art Hospital, promote creation of recreational, dining and cultural facilities. This is not to mention the goods and services circulating or changing hands because of this new money source.

My dear paisanos, this is just a start. There are so many things we can do. In fact, many of us are already doing it. Whenever a new house is erected, most of these are from kababayans working in the middle east. If we can pool our resources, there is so much we can do. Those who are interested can go back and have their own business. communities havee progressed without it.

As you can see, Mining is not the only way to develop our communities. Neither is it a cure-all. At the most, all it could do is just a band-aid. A BAND-AID "na magbilin nan pinakadako na samad sanan kugan sa ato kaguyangan, ato panginabuhi, ato manindot ug garboso nga bukid".


Unread post by uwaybanahaw »

Ang bundok ay hindi lamang taguan ng mga rebelde at basta bundok lamang. Mahigit na 60% ng Pilipinas ay bundok dahil sa ang 'pinas ay isang makatuwid ang bansang ito ay isla ng mga bundok. Ang Sierra Madre ang pinakamalawak na kabundukan kung saan dito nangyari ang trahedya na marami o libo-libo ang namatay(sana wala kang kamag-anak na nadamay)sa Real, Infanta at Nakar, Quezon. Puno pa lang ang inuubos hindi pa ito hinuhukay.

Sana pamilyar ka rin sa nangyari sa Marinduque na minina ng Marcopper...nakakakilabot ang naging resulta nito, maraming kabataan ang namatay dahil sa sakit na dulot ng mga kemekal na ginamit ng Marcopper. Hanggang ngayon hindi ito pinanagutan ng nasabing kompanya.

Sana imulat natin ang ating mga kapag pinutol na ang huling puno...nalason na ang huling ilog at namatay na ang huling isda saka lang natin malalaman na hindi natin makakain ang pera.

Hindi naman natin kailangang tutulan ang kaunlaran, ang kailangan lamang natin ay iaayon ito sa kakayahan at kakanyahan ng kalusugan ng kapaligiran at ng sambayanan at ng susunod pang saling lahi.

Pasensyana hindi ako marunong ng dialect nyo, I jst dropped by to your forum site and I found an interesting topic. Nice website!! kudos to the site administrator.


Unread post by ROD @OZ »

Costa Rica Bans Open-Pit Mining
Source: AIDA

Oakland, CA/San Jose, Costa Rica --The government of Costa Rica has taken a major step in protecting its natural environment by placing a ban on new open pit mining. President Abel Pacheco signed the measure last week as part of the

World Environment Day celebrations. According to Minister of Environment Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Costa Ricans simply are not interested in opening their country for mineral exploitation at the cost of the environment.

The executive decree places a complete moratorium on new open pit mining projects and calls for cancellation of the three contracts already in place.

This signifies an uncertain future for one operational and two planned mines in Costa Rica. Referring to the decree, President Pacheco stated that "if the price for protecting the environment" is paying damages, Costa Rica will do so.

"We have many reasons for rescinding these contracts, and if they sue us for compensation it will be cheaper than paying for the loss of the country and its environment."

Large-scale open pit mining is environmentally destructive for several reasons.

In addition to digging a vast crater in the earth, thereby stripping it of vital forests and ecosystems, toxic chemicals such as cyanide are often used to leach metals from the rock. This process can pollute the surrounding soil and water, and harms not only animals and aquatic life but humans as well. Montana voters outlawed cyanide mining in 1998, and efforts to ban the practice in several other US states are underway. Costa Rica has now joined these US states in declaring its opposition to this dangerous practice.

Open pit mining often results in acid drainage. Rock formations rich in
minerals can have high sulfur content. Sulfuric minerals are less stable when exposed to the atmosphere, and they usually react to form sulfuric acid. Acid drainage contaminates surface and ground waters and is especially problematic in a tropical climate with heavy rainfall, such as Costa RicaÕs.

One of the contracts in place in Costa Rica is for an open pit cyanide gold mine in Bellavista, Miramar. The Bellavista project was owned by the Canadian company Wheaton River Minerals (WRM). WRM acquired it in 1997 and received final environmental permit in early 2001 despite the companyÕs lack of tropical mining experience and the possibility for serious adverse environmental impacts.

Low gold prices forced WRM to delay construction, and Glencairn Explorations, another Canadian company, recently agreed to purchase the rights to the project.

Representatives of WRM and Glencairn have stated that the Costa Rican decree does not affect the Bellavista mining project. While it is true that the moratorium does not apply to projects that have been approved, the decree makes clear Costa RicaÕs commitment to negotiate the terms of termination with existing concessionaries.

The Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) has been working with Costa Rican and Canadian environmental groups to address environmental concerns with respect to the proposed Bellavista mine. AIDA has documented the environmental risks of the project, identified the most egregious flaws in the environmental management plan that formed the basis for project approval, and provided technical expertise to the Costa Rican government and NGOs.

AIDA congratulates the Costa Rican government on its strong stance against open pit mining, and encourages it to take the steps necessary to cancel the Bellavista project.

Contact Information:
Anna Cederstav, Staff Scientist, AIDA and Earthjustice (USA) 510-550-6748 Rafael Gonzalez, Justicia para la Naturaleza (Costa Rica) 506-207-4227

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