Phillippine islanders unite to save forests from Norwegian mining firm

Elected officials from the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro march towards Calapan City's central business district on June 12, 2015. Image: Provincial Govt of Oriental Mindoro-PIO
Elected officials from the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro march towards Calapan City’s central business district on June 12, 2015. Image: Provincial Govt of Oriental Mindoro-PIO

On June 12 the people of Mindoro island took to the streets to protest the decade long efforts of Norwegian mining firm Intex Resources to begin large-scale mining in the island. A group of over 5,000 residents, environmental groups, indigenous people, local government leaders, business groups, church leaders, the police and  politicians marched through the streets of the capital Calapan City. They say mining is not part of the island’s sustainable development agenda, which is based on food security and ecotourism. “The people of Mindoro’s fight against mining sets an example to the Philippines and to the world,” said Father Edwin Gariguez, recipient of Goldman Environmental Prize, 2012. “The whole world looks to us.”

In Brief
  • Mindoro, whose name means “mine of gold”,  is situated about 200 kilometres south of Manila.
  • Intex was given approval in 1997 to survey Mindoro, where it discovered rich deposits of nickel ore. However relentless opposition from NGOs and the local government has halted their progress ever since.
  • The Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources reinstated Intex’s environmental compliance certificate (after a six year ban), clearing the path for the Norwegian mining company to proceed with its plans to mine 12,000 hectares of Mindoro’s forests.
In Depth
In the Future
Jeremy Smithhttp://www.jmcsmith.com
Jeremy Smith is the editor and co-founder of Travindy. He is a writer and communications consultant working for a more responsible and sustainable tourism industry. He is the author of two books, writes a fortnightly blog on responsible tourism for World Travel Market, and provides consultancy to a wide range of companies and organisations, ranging from National Parks to individual hotels and tour operators.

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