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Environmentalists call for wider ban on mining

All Philippine provinces should follow South Cotabato’s lead, they say

Environmentalists call for wider ban on mining
Zamboanga del Norte residents renew their call against mining operations in their communities
Ryan Rosauro, Iligan City

January 28, 2011

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Philippine environmental groups are urging local governments across the country to follow the lead of the southern province of South Cotabato and enact laws banning open-pit mining. Daniel Castillo, a representative of the Church-based Committee on Mining Issues, said a localized mining ban is a viable countermeasure against a central government mining code of practice which anti-mining activists say favors companies investing in mineral extraction projects. An environmentalist organization in Cagayan de Oro earlier praised lawmakers in Zamboanga Del Norte province for considering an ordinance banning open-pit mining. “We are more than willing to support local legislative bodies who are exercising their right to say no to environmentally destructive projects and industries,” said activist Zherwinah B. Mosqueda. Currently, some 137 applications have been filed to mine or explore for minerals in the southern Philippines’ Zamboanga Peninsula region. The total area that would be affected if they are all granted would be 703,598 hectares or almost half the region’s land mass. “We encourage other local governments to follow suit. It is well in their mandate to protect their constituents from the ravages of extractive industry-influenced disasters and calamities,” Mosqueda said. A Mindanao business leader, meanwhile, has joined a Canadian mining firm in urging Zamboanga del Norte legislators to consider the effect a ban on open-pit and open-cut land surface mining would have on the local economy. Edwin Capili of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry warned that Zamboanga del Norte could miss out on the social and economic benefits that can be gained from mining. Capili tried to allay fears of massive destruction to land and water resources by claiming that responsible mining practices are sensitive to the requirements of sustainable development.   Related reports Philippine anti-mining activists remain defiant Bishop welcomes mining companies’ departure Archdiocese steps up bid to halt mining PM13073.1638
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