Siltation from mine operations in steep Rapu Rapu island threatens to smother vital coral habitats in the surrounding waters.
Update (July 26th): David Andrade, aGreenpeace
Philippines staffer, was detained by police today at gunpoint
whilecollecting water samples from a creek on public land, while
investigatingreports of a fish kill. After beingsearched and
harassed, the police confiscated his water samples and
eventuallylet him go.
Negligent mining operations: "too
fast, too soon"
During its few months of operation, the mining company showed
negligence with regard to its operations. (During the Rapu Rapu
Fact-finding Commission hearings in April-May 2006, Lafayette
officials in fact admitted that they mined "too fast, too soon"
even while the mine's structural safeguards meant to minimize
environmental damage were not yet completed.) As a result, after
heavy rains in October 11 and 31, 2005, cyanide and other
contaminants from the mine spilled into the sea and around the
island, resulting in massive fish kills which Lafayette, to this
day, continues to downplay.
In January 2006, Lafayette was fined PhP10.7 million (about
$206,850 USD), PhP10.4 million (about $201,060 USD) for violating
the Clean Water Act, and PhP300,000 (about 5,800 USD) for violating
the conditions of their Environmental Compliance Certificate
They paid only PhP300,000 initially, and contested the rest of
the fine, only paying up 6 months later (on June 20), when payment
for the fine was stipulated as a precondition to the mine's 30-day
The toxic test-run
The 30-day test run period was granted to Lafayette by the DENR,
and was given despite the mine's several violations to their ECC,
is expected to be a mere prelude to the mine's complete
"Another spill is not necessary to demonstrate that Lafayette's
mining operations will be severely detrimental to Rapu Rapu and its
surrounding waters. This operation is a self-perpetuating
ecological disaster that will leave serious, long-term negative
effects on the oceans at the expense of the area's outlying coastal
communities for generations to come," said Greenpeace Southeast
Asia Toxics campaigner Beau Baconguis.
"By allowing Lafayette's reopening, the government has once
again betrayed its duplicitous nature- shamelessly mouthing
platitudes and clichés for a 'Green Philippines' while willingly
condoning long-term damage to the environment in its myopic pursuit
of spurious economic gains."
Defending our Oceans
The Esperanza is on its way to the Philippines as part of the
Defending our Oceans expedition to highlight the destruction
wreaked by land based marine pollution and the need for ongoing
protection for the Philippine's marine environment such as
establishment of more marine reserves in the country.
Sign the petition
Help Ocean Defenders in the Philippines protect their seas.