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Moguls should learn to mine their own business

May 2, 2011 · 

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Bishops, priests, environmental defenders, indigenous people and the common Filipino have one thing in common and that is a love of their once beautiful land and the environment.

When they are told that there is a bonanza of wealth that could make them all rich, they laugh. It’s all lies, just stories of greedy speculators trying to convince them to abandon their sustained opposition to the mining industry.

The titans of industry are waiting like vultures. They have large investment funds, lots of guns and goons, and now, the law on their side. Exploitation, environmental destruction, loss of land, livelihood, houses, toxic waste sickness and disease, poverty and great landslides are just some of the problems that mining brings.

The buzzards are already feeding on the corpse of ravaged mother earth. They are digging, gouging, pillaging and plundering the land of its natural resources leaving destruction behind. Why spend millions when government environmental officials have been already paid off?

There is nothing in it for the people but for the mining moguls there are vast profits to be made. Greed for gold, now at astronomical prices of $555 an ounce and climbing, is driving this relentless exploitation. Many minerals are growing in value daily and investors know they can’t loose.

The industry estimates the foreign investors are poised to spend as much as $8.5 billion to exploit the $1 trillion worth of minerals. While one of the richest nations in minerals, it is also one of the most corrupt according to transparency international.

The sacredness of the creation, the duty to protect it and the rights of the people to live a decent life without mountains and rivers being turned to toxic waste dumps and mud covered mass graves, is what drives the opposition to destructive mining.

Even national parks are not safe. If you are from Bulacan, it’s time to weep. A 330-hectare area of a beautiful forested mountain, preserved by law as a national park for future generations and home of rare species of wild life is under threat from Rosemoor Mining Company.

It’s got all the permits to rip open the sacred mountain where the famous freedom fighters of the Katipunan launched their uprising against Spanish domination.

Everywhere it seems government officials are in cahoots with the mining corporations who can fund their re-election campaigns and see they get a sliver of the earnings.

Mgr Crisanto de la Cruz found a gift box on the altar in St. Joseph’s Church recently containing two bullets and a bar of soap. The threat was clear, two bullets for you and the soap to wash away the river of blood.

Fr Chris is bravely leading the anti-mining campaign in the archdiocese of Zamboanga in the southern Philippines: “No amount of threats will silence me, I will continue with the crusade, I know the people are behind me”, he told the press.

A Chinese-funded mining operation wants to extract the ore from the nearby mountains, but that will destroy at least six villages, said Fr Chris, and do untold damage to the environment.

Despite the rallies and demands of the people to stop the operations of Linktone Mining, the city council voted for it. So much for democracy in this nation ruled by an oligarchy of the rich and powerful.

Government officials have issued large scale mining permits again in Dumagete. Operations were suspended after health and environmental problems became apparent. In Zambales, a river of toxic pollutants are causing rashes, burns and many sicknesses to the residents. Protests have fallen on deaf ears. The only thing the authorities hear is the jingle of coins, according to Fr Chris.

The Catholic Church has demanded a repeal of the mining act which grants full operational ownership of mining operations to foreign-owned mining corporations. They pay a pittance in bribes and so avoid spending the necessary millions on pollution control and environmental protection and restoration.

With most of forest cover gone, the mountain only needs a slight earth tremor to unleash torrent killer landslides. That is all people expect from mining. [End]

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