Flotilla of local boats accompanies Greenpeace ship Esperanza on protest against pollution caused by Layayette mine on Rapu Rapu Island, Philippines.
The Esperanza sailed into Rapu-Rapu Island accompanied by
from the provinces of Sorsogon and Albay on board some 70
bancas (traditional outrigger boats) bearing banners saying "Stop
Lafayette"and "ABN-Amro, ANZ Stop Funding Marine Pollution". Dutch
bankABN-Amro, one of the world's biggest financial institutions,
andAustralian bank ANZ are providing financial backing for the
miningoperations. This is despite the fact that both banks have
policies inplace which are supposed to prevent them from investing
in socially andenvironmentally irresponsible projects.
Our Toxics Campaigner Beau Baconguis said, "People rely on the
richmarine ecosystem for food and income and have already suffered
fromcontinuous toxic contamination from the Lafayette mine."
Rapu Rapu - Countdown to an environmental disaster
Late last year, Lafayette was ordered to stop its mining
operationsafter it twice released cyanide and other contaminants
into theenvironment, resulting in massive fish kills. Subsequent
investigationscarried out by a Presidential Fact-Finding
Commission revealedthat not only had Lafayette been operating the
mine beyond its capacitybut that it had been doing so even before
it completed the constructionof barriers designed to prevent
contamination reaching the sea.
The Philippine government then granted the company a licence for
day test run of the mine. During the test run, several toxic
leaksoccurred. Residents have since reported more fish kills in
thecreeks leading out from the mine into Albay Gulf.
"The reopening of Lafayette mine has started the clock for
anotherdisaster in our marine ecosystem. Lafayette mine must be
closed forgood," Beau added.
The pristine waters, seagrass beds and mangroves of Albay Gulf
createan exceptionally rich fishing ground for fishermen. Dolphins,
seaturtles, egrets, and purple herons are frequently sighted in
thesewaters. Five of the seven marine turtles in the world are
found in theAlbay Gulf, while the eastern coast, including Rapu
Rapu, is amigration path for whale sharks. The Lafayette mine
threatens thesurvival of all of these species.
"The Arroyo government's support for the mining operation makes
part of the problem and not the solution," said Baconguis.
than serve the interests of mining corporations the government
act on behalf of the 30 million Filipinos who rely on our rich
environment for food and livelihoods."
Tell ABN AMRO and ANZ to stop funding ocean pollution
Read more about the Lafayette mine
Reports, photos and background info on the toxic Lafayette mine on Rapu Rapu