Greenpeace Statement on the DENR approved final phase of Lafayette's test run

Lafayette test run a sham

Press release - August 31, 2006
Greenpeace Southeast Asia toxics campaigner Beau Baconguis said: "From the start, Greenpeace has been very disappointed with the DENR's (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) decision granting Lafayette a 30-day test-run despite findings that environmental lapses on the part of the company were responsible for the toxic spills during its first few months of operations. Now, the terms of the third phase of this so-called test-run proves without doubt that it is a complete sham designed to pave the way for Lafayette's full operations(1).”

"The decision to allow Lafayette to resume operations has obviously already been  made even before the test run started. This is a shameless theatrical display conjured by  the DENR and Lafayette, at the expense of the environment and livelihoods of people who depend on the integrity of the marine ecosystem around Rapu Rapu for their survival." Greenpeace maintains that Lafayette's mining operations will pollute the island's surrounding fragile marine environment. Last August 24, Greenpeace released a report that extremely high levels of the heavy metals were found in water samples from Rapu Rapu Island. Cadmium, copper and zinc were found to be at levels more than a hundred times higher than background levels for river water in water samples taken from Mirikpitik Creek, Rapu Rapu Island on August 2, 2006(2)."

"But instead of addressing the issue of contamination directly, Lafayette has instead cried sabotage over incidents of fish kills which occurred during their test run. To this day, however, they have yet to prove this allegation.  Moreover, the disturbing lack of transparency during the conduct of the test run(3) also remains an issue that the DENR and Lafayette have yet to address."

"The recent confirmation of the presence of whale sharks or butandings in the Albay Gulf also underscore what the region is bound to lose in the face of Lafayette's continuing toxic onslaught on the pristine fishing grounds around Rapu Rapu Island."

Other contacts: Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace Southeast, Asia Toxics Campaigner, +63 917 803 6077; Lea Guerrero, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Media Campaigner, +63 916 374 4969

Notes: (1)During the 15-day phase the milling facility will operate at 30% capacity on Day 1, 60% on Day 2, 80% on Day 3 and full capacity on Day 4 until Day 15. (2)See samples-of-water-c (3)Public land outside mine premises are being patrolled by police and company security, discouraging attempts at independent monitoring by organizations concerned about the environment. Moreover, repeated inquiries by Greenpeace in Rapu Rapu Island as well as in Legaspi, on the composition of the mine monitoring team supposedly established to look at the test run, have yielded no satisfactory results.