Monthly Archives: February 2012

underMINING Lies

Chamber of Mines: Mining will attract and bring in more investments

FACT: INVESTMENTS ARE NOT TO BE EQUATED WITH BENEFITS. While the project cost appears in billions, much of it are utilized in purchasing equipment machines, processing of ores that are taking place OUTSIDE the Philippines and payment of consultants who are mostly foreigners. The largest share of the value of output accrues to operating surplus, amounting to 43%, indicating that the benefits from mining accrue primarily to investors, and hence a relatively narrow segment of society (Habito, 2010).

Chamber of Mines: Large-scale metallic and non-metallic mining can generate millions of jobs

FACT: ON THE AVERAGE, THE INDUSTRY’S CONTRIBUTION TO TOTAL EMPLOYMENT DURING THE DECADE (2000-2009) WAS A MERE 0.376% (MGB, 2010). The Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia for instance, is approximately a US$100 Billion mine over 40 years that will be the world’s 3rd largest copper mine. It has generated 11,400 (half Mongolian, half foreign) during the construction phase but only 3,500 jobs will be permanent, eventually (Revenue Watch Institute). Therefore, employment may only be intensive in the initial stage but labor absorption is likely to decline over time because more labor-saving technologies are adopted in the industry. Agriculture on the other hand contributes nearly two-fifths or 40% of the jobs in the Philippines.

Chamber of Mines: The mining industry can increase government revenues

FACT: IN 2000-2009, MINING CONTRIBUTED ONLY 1.7% TO THE EXCISE TAXES OF THE COUNTRY (BIR). Under the 1995 Mining Act (Sec. 81, 92 and 93), mining companies enjoy several forms of TAX HOLIDAYS. Hence, government cannot even collect withholding taxes until costs have been fully recovered. Given these advantages, mining’s actual contribution to the national revenues is only 4% (Revenue Watch Institute). This shows that while foreign mining corporations see the Philippines as a milking cow, the owner of the natural wealth only gets dog food.

Chamber of Mines: The large-scale mining sector improves the quality of life in host communities while mitigating mining’s impacts on the environment.

FACT: THERE IS NO MINING SITE IN THE COUNTRY THAT SHOWS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE LIVING AROUND AND IN IT. In fact, mining communities are often among the, if not the most impoverished of communities. There is, for example, increased poverty incidence in Region 13 (CARAGA) from 46% in 2002 to 49% in 2007 attributed to increased mining in the region (Gomez, 2011).

FACT: Tailings run-offs can contaminate nearby water sources with heavy metal pollutants used in mining such as cadmium, mercury, sodium cyanide and zinc, rendering them useless as sources of food, water and livelihood. An estimated 16,000 tons of mine tailings find their way into rivers, lakes and irrigation systems. (Habito, 2010).

FACT: The Philippines is one of the 17 countries of mega-biodiversity. The site of the 500-HECTARE wide and 800-meter deep (twice the height of the Empire State Building) open pit of SMI in Tampakan, South Cotabato is threatening a total of 812 flora species, 247 (30%) are Philippine endemics and 52 (6%) mainland Mindanao endemics. 55 species are under the Threatened Species list of IUCN. For amphibians and reptiles alone, 28% are Philippine Endemics, 18% are Mindanao Endemics and 20% are Greater Mind- anao Endemics (Environmental Impact Statement of SMI).
References cited:
Bauer, Andrew. Philippine Mineral Wealth Revenue. Revenue Watch Institute.
Bureau of Internal Revenue
Gomez, Maita. Transparency in Data and Revenue Issues. 2010.
Habito, Cielito. An Agenda for High and Inclusive Growth in the Philippines. Asian Development Bank. 2010 Sagitarrius Mines, Inc. Tampakan Copper-Gold Mine Project. Environmental Impact Statement. 2011



Total Economic Valuation, Additional Areas Closed to Mining (prime agricultural lands and eco-tourism zones), Review of all Existing Mining Contracts and Agreements, Suspension of Approval of all Pending Mining Applications, Measures to Increase Government Revenues in Mining, and Development of Downstream Industries for the Minerals Sector.