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Activists storm leading mining firm's meeting

Protest marks latest battle with mining sector

Joe Torres, Manila

June 26, 2013

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Environmental activists stormed the annual shareholders’ meeting of the country’s biggest mining firm, Philex Mining Corp, today. 

Also today, Philex announced a partnership with Manila Electric Company to build a coal power plant in restive Mindanao, more than 100 protesters barged their way into the meeting, shouting slogans against “irresponsible and dirty mining corporations.”

“There are more ecologically friendly businesses and better corporations that you could put your money into,” read a statement by the activists, addressed to Philex investors.

The incident marks the latest confrontation between the Philippines mining industry and its increasingly militant opponents.

Also today, in the northern diocese of Bayombong, Bishop Ramon Villena and clergy led 500 residents to barricade a mine site in Dupax Del Norte, designed to prevent exploration activities by mining firms Royalco and Buena Suerte.

In response, the companies have filed a temporary restraining order against 10 community leaders.

Paz Balingan, one of the subjects of the order and chairman of anti-mining umbrella group ALMUSEGAM, said the barricades were intended to “defend our land which is the source of life not just for us but also for our children.”

The Ministry of Mines recently asked the government to protect mining personnel after Philex and Lepanto Mining Corp suffered regular attacks this year by the New People’s Army rebels in northern Benguet and central Negros Occidental provinces. 

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