Mine starts information campaign-A A +A
Friday, August 24, 2012
MANKAYAN, Benguet – The government agencies convened for the first information and education campaign (IEC) on the Gold Fields Philippines Corporation project within the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation’s Far South East site.
The daylong information drive was led by the Sancho Buquing, regional director National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Cordilleras, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) OIC Fay Apil, Mankayan Mayor Materno Luspian and Brett Mattison, country manager, Gold Fields Philippines Corporation.
The mining firm has applied for a Foreign and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with the MGB, which was referred to the NCIP for the conduct of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in the IP community.
Apil said the IEC is first of the many processes to be undertaken by the company in order to get to the FPIC stage.
Elders of the community as well as representatives from barangays Suyoc, Poblacion, Sapid, Colalo, Cabitin, Paco, Bedbed, Bulalacao and Balili were present during the meeting, where the process of FTTA applications, effects of mining as well as the new executive order was explained.
The NCIP stressed the importance of the FPIC process, which is mandatory detailing the role of communities as well as the council of elder in the decision.
The company will have to undergo at least three FPIC process before operation.
Earlier, Gold Fields conducted studies that involved drilling in several parts of the municipality. The due diligence process does not require an FPIC because it was covered by the Mineral Processing and Sharing Agreement issued to Lepanto 1990 before the implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.
The company has been riddled with problems with groups in Mankayan up in arms in protest over drilling at the Far South East site.
Cases in the courts are ongoing and work is at a snail’s pace for the company for months now.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 24, 2012.