THE TAMPAKAN OPEN-PIT MINING IN SOUTH COTABATO (MINDANAO)
…a virtual hell if pushed through
By Apolinario Villalobos
Tampakan is located in South Cotabato and has been in the midst of controversy since many years back because of the interest of Saggitarius Mining, Inc. (SMI) to mine its mineral deposits. At a glance, the following are what the issue is all about:
- It could be the biggest mining project in the country with a pegged financing of USD5.9billion.
- It is believed to be the world’s largest gold prospect to date.
- Tampakan site is believed to contain 2.94 billion tons of minerals that include copper at 15million tons of copper and 18 million ounces of gold.
- The value of production for twenty (20) years is USD37billion.
- The site covers an aggregate area of about 10,000 hectares that include (Tampakan) South Cotabato, (Columbio) Sultan Kudarat, (Kiblawan) Davao del Sur, and Malungon (Sarangani).
- Henry Sy of the SM Group is interested in investing in the project.
- SMI is being controlled by the Alcantara family (“Sagittarius Mines Inc., the owner of the Tampakan project, used to be 62.5-percent owned by Glencore while the remaining 37.5 percent was owned by Indophil Resources NL, which is, in turn, controlled by the Alcantara group through Alsons Prime Investments Corp. (Apic). Glencore’s exit allowed the Alcantara group to consolidate its control of the Tampakan project by exercising its right of first refusal.”)
- The Tampakan mining site is located only 50 kilometers from General Santos, the hub of commerce in South Cotabato, with its international-standard port and airport; Koronadal and Tacurong City are near Columbio and between them flows the Buluan River which is the outlet of the Rio Grande de Mindanao which partially flows to Ligwasan Marsh.
- The project is expected to realize Php1trillion.
The open-pit mining at Tampakan shall virtually turn the covered areas into hell, what with the displacement of farmers, pollution of all the rivers, streams that eventually towards the bays, and the open pit itself which according to Secretary Gina Lopez herself, is equivalent to 700 football fields, and much much much worst, shall not be covered after the operations!
In view of the above, Minadanaoans who live around the area should unite to block the project and provide DENR Secretary Lopez with a “noisy support”. The mining operation if pushed through shall spell the damnation of practically the whole of southern Mindanao because of the harm from its pollutants – chemicals and exhaust fumes. We do not need this kind of investment!