Greenpeace statement on the DENR decision to allow the resumption of Lafayette’s mining operations

Press release - June 13, 2006
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources allows the resumption of Lafayette’s mining operations.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics Campaigner Beau Baconguis said:

"The DENR decision is hardly surprising given the government's unabashed stance in favor of mining interests. This lamentable decision is a virtual admission on the part of the government that long-term damage to the environment and to the marine ecosystem is a justifiable cost of doing business. It flies in the face of the DENR's own powerlessness and inability to protect the interest of the public especially when disaster attends such mining operations."

"Greenpeace maintains that Lafayette´s  operations will seriously damage Rapu Rapu and its surrounding fragile marine ecosystem. Its toxic tailings and the inevitable acid mine drainage will continue to pollute the seas. More siltation from the mine´s extractive activities will continue to choke the corals in the outlying areas."

"With this decision, the national government has made sacrificial lambs out of  the communities in Rapu Rapu and in the surrounding coastal areas. The  mine´s alleged benefits  will not be enough to compensate these communities for the permanent loss of resources, collateral effects to local livelihoods, missed economic opportunities, damage to marine health, and threats to human  life and safety. Judging from the sorry experiences of mining elsewhere in the country, we remain convinced that the mine will leave the communities in Albay and Sorsogon more impoverished and socially scarred than before the mining operations started.(1)"

"Greenpeace calls on President Arroyo to reverse this decision as soon as possible and instead heed the recommendations of the Bastes Commission. Short term economic gains should not take precedence over the ecological stability of our environment and marine ecosystems in particular, and the lives that these sustain."

Other contacts: Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics Campaigner, +63 917 803 6077 Von Hernandez, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaigns Director, +63 917 526 3050 Lea Guerrero, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Media Campaigner, +63 916 374 4969, +63 2 434 7034, loc. 104

Notes: (1)In the Greenpeace report ‘ Fool's Gold: The false economic promises of the Lafayette mining project in Rapu Rapu’ released last week, computations made by environmental consulting firm, Risk Asia, showed that the total financial benefits from the project would only give the municipality of Rapu Rapu a per capita income of PhP2.00 per day for the seven year life of the mine.