eastwind journals 16 – REPLY TO SAGITTARIUS MINING on questionable ECC

eastwind journals 16
eastwind journals are the personal journalistic writings of Bernie Lopez, and are not part of the healing ministry. Any views or comments are his own and does not reflect those of the ministry.
About its Questionable EIS
Sagittarius Mining Inc. (SMI) is on the verge of operating the largest ever open-pit gold-copper mining venture in Philippine history, and one of the largest worldwide. SMI is on a PR barrage in despair to have its questionable ECC or license to operate approved to pre-empt a gathering storm of protests on the potential for a mega-disaster. This is a reply to their article. Please view related Youtube “Killer Dam”, which was posted earlier –




This is in reply to an article in Business Mirror on Monday, January 9, 2012 written by Jennifer Ng. The article says, “SMI (Sagittarius Mining Inc.) stressed that it has subjected its Environment Impact Statement (EIS) for the (Tampakan) mining project to public meetings, private meetings since 2009, and culminating in four public consultations conducted in September last year.”


My interviews of stakeholders reveal the opposite, that they were never part of any consultations. SMI talked mainly to those directly affected at the mining area, and did not include the thousands of farmers in the valleys affected if the tailings dam collapse. This will be one of the largest in the world with a staggering 1.5 billion metric tons of toxic waste, about eight times bigger than Placer Dome’s infamous dam in Boac, Marinduque. It sits on top of the mountain, ready to flow down the breadbasket valleys of Davao del Sur if the dam collapse. Thirty one of the best state-of-the-art tailings dams worldwide have collapsed in the last few years. It is impossible to contain 1.5 billion metric tons atop a mountain in perpetuity.


Also, the resulting huge open pit void several hundreds of football fields in size will generate acid and flow to South Cotabato’s lush Koronadal Valley if their treatment plant is overrun by another Sendong. SMI’s EIS does not mention mitigating measures about these potential mega-disasters. They present a rosy picture.


It is amazing why and how the mining contract for SMI (FTAA), decided by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional, was suddenly reversed after nine months.


The article says, “The consultations are part of efforts to convince local officials of South Cotabato to lift the ban it imposed on open-pit mining.” The local officials will never lift the ban because they stand to lose about 1.5 million farmer votes if the dams collapse. This kind of disaster can oust even a President, if his Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) approves such a questionable EIS. We welcome a reply from SMI.


Bernie Lopez, redgate77@gmail.com 
Freelance Green Documentary Producer
“Killer Dam” on the Youtube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoYTNEli8gA


Economy Tañada: Fate of Tampakan mine rests on the public 
Business Mirror
Monday, 09 January 2012 21:09
By Jennifer A. Ng / Reporter
THE people should decide on the fate of the $5.9-billion Tampakan copper-gold project in South Cotabato, according to House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada.

“There should be a clear consultation process [on the Tampakan project]. Dapat nating sundan ’yung posisyon ng taong bayan doon sa project area,” he stressed.

However, Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI), which operates multibillion Tampakan Copper-Gold Project and holds a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with the government to explore and develop the project, said it has held public consultations as well as private meetings to engage stakeholders in the project.

SMI stressed that it has subjected its environmental impact statement (EIS) for the mining project to public meetings, private meetings since 2009, and culminating in four public consultations conducted in September last year.

The consultations are part of efforts to convince local officials of South Cotabato to lift the ban it imposed on open-pit mining and to get regulatory approval for its operation.

The ban on open-pit mining was imposed by the provincial government of
South Cotabato in 2010.

According to Tañada, he is “not totally against mining,” admitting that the mining industry can help the Philippines become an industrialized and developed economy.

“We should allow mining in certain areas,” he said.

He noted that responsible mining is possible and can exist as long as the government strictly monitors mining activities and that the mining company completely rehabilitates project areas after operation.
With an estimated resource totaling to 2.4 billion metric tons at a grade of 0.6 percent copper and 0.2 grams per ton gold, the Tampakan deposit is one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in the Southeast Asia-Western Pacific region.

Experts say the Tampakan mine has the potential to become the largest mine in the country, and the fifth largest copper mine in the world by 2016.

SMI operates the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project in Mindanao as a joint venture between Xstrata Copper, a global diversified mining group in London and Swiss stock exchanges acquiring (62.5 percent) share, Indophil Resources NL, an Australian-listed exploration company with (34.2 percent) share.
The project is expected to contribute $37 billion (P1.85 trillion) to the Philippine economy over the life of the mine. The project will have the potentials of creating more than 12,000 jobs during the mine construction and actual operation.
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