OceanaGold Mining in Nueva Vizcaya to Cost Environment
Rappler reported that environment groups denounced the Philippine government’s decision allowing Australian-owned OceanaGold Philippines to resume gold and copper mining in Nueva Vizcaya, saying this would cause further damage in the area and displace indigenous groups. Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center said that the renewal of the permit for OceanaGold to mine again in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, flies in the face of the will of the local government and groups of Tuwali indigenous people. They said “They have long maintained that OceanaGold has adversely affected agricultural livelihoods, caused water and air pollution, and divided the community. Mining will further cause harm on community health. Community members have reported alarming water depletion and health hazards. According to studies, mining has a great impact on water sources, both by depleting water supplies with high volume use and pollution from the discharges or seepage from mine tailings.”
The Alyansa Tigil Mina questioned the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples for allowing mining in the area and neglecting to protect the rights of indigenous communities the Bungkalots, the Tuwalis, and the Ifugas who are residing and living in their ancestral domains affected by the mine. They said "The local residents and even the local governments from the barangay, municipal and provincial levels have articulated their opposition to the re-opening of the mines. And these calls to protect lives and livelihoods against a destructive mining project have fallen on deaf ears.”
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment emphasized the legal aspect of the issue, noting that the Supreme Court had recently denied Oceanagold's motion for reconsideration against the restraining order imposed by Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla on the mine. This restraining order was upheld by the regional trial court in Cagayan Valley.