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28 Feb 2022

Bong S. Sarmiento, Mongabay

Philippines: Indigenous opposition to mining project falters due to fatigue and pro-mining shift by govt.

"‘I am pro-mining’: Indigenous opposition to Philippine mine project falters", 28 February 2022

For nearly a decade, Nora Sukal was the public face of Indigenous opposition to the Tampakan project, a planned gold and copper mine on Blaan tribal land in Mindanao in the southern Philippines.


Sukal, who is among the leaders in the ancestral domain straddled by the S’bangken Tribal Council, said that the mine, operated by Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) [...].


“I now declare I am pro-mining. I will support the operations of SMI,” Sukal said in the vernacular.

Sukal is not the only anti-mining voice to sing a different tune. After decades of conflict that has fractured families and clans and led to the deaths of at least two dozen people, the Tampakan mine now seems closer than ever to reaching commercial production, thanks to fatigue at the local level and a pro-mining shift in Manila.


SMI representative Roy Antonio said the company now plans to reduce impact by mining in phases rather than in “one big mining scoop,” and will “employ responsible mining practices.”

So far, Antonio said, the company has invested 32 billion pesos ($626 million) and paid 2.6 billion pesos ($50.9 million) in taxes to the government. In the first 10 years after operations begin, during which time the company plans to build support infrastructure and start extraction, it projects paying 76.6 billion pesos ($1.5 billion) in taxes to the national government and 4.8 billion pesos ($93.9 million) to local governments. During this period, Indigenous peoples stand to receive 6.6 billion pesos ($129.2 million) in mining royalties, equivalent to 1% of gross company earnings, Antonio added.