The Tampakan Open-pit Mining in South Cotabato (Mindanao)…a virtual hell if pushed through

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!

 

On the Abusive Exploitation of Natural Resources and the Philippines

ON THE ABUSIVE EXPLOITATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES

AND THE PHILIPPINES

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

 

THE UTTER EXPLOITATION OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES THAT EVEN GOES BEYOND THE BORDER OF ABUSE HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS AMONG THE CAUSES OF POVERTY, FLOOD, AND MOST OF ALL CORRUPTION. IN THE PHILIPPINES, THE GOOD INTENT OF THE SECRETARY OF DENR, GINA LOPEZ IN THIS REGARD, IS UNFORTUNATELY, BEING THWARTED BY SECTORS THAT, OBVIOUSLY, HAVE STAKES IN THIS INDUSTRY. IT IS SO SAD TO NOTE THAT SOME OF THEM ARE NOW PART OF THE DUTERTE ADMINISTRATION.

 

MINING HAS DISPLACED FARMERS, POLLUTED WATER RESOURCES AND BAYS, AND DENUDED FORESTS RESULTING TO FLOODING…AND THESE HAVE BEEN HAPPENING FOR DECADES. THE SITUATION HAS BEEN WORSENED BY THE LAW AUTHORED BY GLORIA ARROYO IN 1995 WHEN SHE WAS YET A SENATOR, ALLOWING FOREIGNERS 100% OWNERSHIP OF LAND THAT THEY CLAIM FOR MINING. THE SITUATION GOT WORST DURING THE ADMINISTRATION OF BENIGNO AQUINO III THAT SAW THE SEEMINGLY UNCONTROLLED ISSUANCE OF PERMITS THAT ENRICHED EVEN LOCAL OFFICIALS.

 

IF THE BISHOPS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES KUNO ARE REALLY INTERESTED TO HELP THE FILIPINOS, THIS IS THE AREA THAT THEY SHOULD STEP INTO. UNCHECKED ABUSIVE EXPLOITATION OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE COUNTRY HAVE A FAR- REACHING MAGNITUDE THAT COULD BE GREATER THAN DRUGS THAT AFFECTS HUMAN LIFE ONLY.

 

MINING NOT ONLY RESULTS TO THE SLOW DETERIORATION OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES, POVERTY AND CRUMBLING OF CULTURAL VALUES BUT ALSO, THE WEATHER SYSTEM THAT DIRECTLY AFFECTS THE WHOLE EARTH!

 

 

The Agony of Mother Nature

The Agony of Mother Nature

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Her  womb brought  forth  life of many sorts

On top of the list is man – wise, clever, shrewd

A creature so sharp, with ego that knows no bound

He, whose selfishness buoyed him up from the ground.

 

At  the start, his simple desire brought him food

Also, skins and leaves to cover his bare fragile frame

Then, his carnal yearnings brought him abundant broods

Who later inhabited  vast lands – plains, valleys, and woods.

 

Man’s desire has no end,  never  satisfied, not a bit

He not only breached,  what to others are sacred realms

Unmindful  and blind to  what will be the  consequence –

Even daring to break  Mother Nature’s idyllic, blissful silence.

 

Greed drove man to scalp mountains of  their  trapping –

Verdant and lush forests felled by  indiscriminate burning

Reverberating  screams of chainsaws  fill nooks and crevices

Drowning panicky bird calls  and  their  desperate screeches.

 

 

Immaculate white and sandy beaches strewn with shells

Though, still practically  fringe  undiscovered islands and coves

May no longer be what they are now,  as found  by those lucky

For their days are numbered   just like the rest, now drowned in misery.

 

Islands pockmarked with diggings for much-coveted  minerals

Pitifully barf residue to rivers, lakes, coves, even gurgling springs

While man grins his widest for the cash, illicitly and cruelly gained

Mother Nature just cringe in agony,  abused,  that for long she pained.

 

The air that man breaths for whiffs of comfort, relief, and dear life –

Now has become a mist of poison, the scourge of his irresponsibility

For bringing forth metallic contraptions belching toxin just everywhere

And even break auditory succor, shaking the world with so much clatter.

 

With Mother Nature in agony –

man is left…alone,

 to determine his destiny!

The Agony of Mother Nature

The Agony of Mother Nature

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Her  womb brought  forth  life of many sorts

On top of the list is man – wise, clever, shrewd

A creature so sharp, with ego that knows no bound

He, whose selfishness buoyed him up from the ground.

 

At  the start, his simple desire brought him food

Also, skins and leaves to cover his bare fragile frame

Then, his carnal yearnings brought him abundant broods

Who later inhabited  vast lands – plains, valleys, and woods.

 

Man’s desire has no end,  never  satisfied, not a bit

He not only breached,  what to others are sacred realms

Unmindful  and blind to  what will be the  consequence –

Even daring to break  Mother Nature’s idyllic, blissful silence.

 

Greed drove man to scalp mountains of  their  trapping –

Verdant and lush forests felled by  indiscriminate burning

Reverberating  screams of chainsaws  fill nooks and crevices

Drowning panicky bird calls  and  their  desperate screeches.

 

 

Immaculate white and sandy beaches strewn with shells

Though, still practically  fringe  undiscovered islands and coves

May no longer be what they are now,  as found  by those lucky

For their days are numbered   just like the rest, now drowned in misery.

 

Islands pockmarked with diggings for much-coveted  minerals

Pitifully barf residue to rivers, lakes, coves, even gurgling springs

While man grins his widest for the cash, illicitly and cruelly gained

Mother Nature just cringe in agony,  abused,  that for long she pained.

 

The air that man breaths for whiffs of comfort, relief, and dear life –

Now has become a mist of poison, the scourge of his irresponsibility

For bringing forth metallic contraptions belching toxin just everywhere

And even break auditory succor, shaking the world with so much clatter.

 

With Mother Nature in agony –

man is left…alone,

 to determine his destiny!