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Media Brief Released: OceanaGold Philippines Shut Down – Villagers Blockade Site, Permit Renewal Withheld

Release Date: 09-Aug-2019

Sydney / Ottawa – The Australian-Canadian mining company OceanaGold has been forced to cease mining for over a month at its Didipio copper-gold mine in Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines. The company faces a restraining order from municipal and provincial elected officials, a blockade of the site by Didipio villagers, most of whom are indigenous peoples, a lapsed mining permit, and a renewal application that has not been approved by the President of the Philippines.

OceanaGold’s 25-year permit lapsed on June 20, 2019, but the company did not cease mining until local community members started an ongoing people’s blockade of the mine on July 1.

Villagers in Didipio are experiencing solidarity from a broad range of Filipino organizations, as well as internationally from, among others, Australian and Canadian civil society organisations:

Protests organised by the Maritime Union of Australia and Canadian solidarity organizations including Mining Watch Canada will be held today, 9 August, in Melbourne, Ottawa and Vancouver.

Also today, MiningWatch Canada and Jubilee Australia released a briefing paper outlining how OceanaGold is ignoring both its lack of a regulatory and a social license to operate the controversial mine, which has had significant adverse impacts on water, forests, land, biodiversity, indigenous peoples’ rights, labour rights and human rights.

In 2006 OceanaGold acquired the Didipio project, located in an important biodiversity corridor, critical watershed, fruit growing and agroforestry hub in the Philippines. The provincial government and mining affected communities have long voiced their opposition to renewal of the mine’s permit in position papers and local petitions. Resistance is led by Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Governor, Carlos Padilla, who released an advisory on the day of the expiration of OceanaGold’s Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) stating that upon the expiration of the contract the agreement “shall be terminated and the parties shall be relieved of their respective obligations”; Governor Padilla followed this up with a restraining order on June 25.

“The evidence clearly suggests that OceanaGold has continued mining operations while the question of the FTAA is still being contested,” said Luke Fletcher of Jubilee Australia. “On 25 July, the Regional Trial Court denied the company’s petition for injunctive relief, further demonstrating that the company is operating there without the proper permissions.”

Media Contacts:

Dr Luke Fletcher, Jubilee Australia, luke@jubileeaustralia.org+61 (0) 435 901 086

Dr. Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada, catherine@miningwatch.ca +1 613 569 3439

Download the briefing paper here:

Media Brief: OceanaGold Philippines shut down Media Brief: OceanaGold Philippines shut down (2832 KB)

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MiningWatch Canada addresses the urgent need for a co-ordinated public interest response to the threats to public health, water and air quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and community interests posed by irresponsible mineral policies and practices in Canada and around the world. www.miningwatch.ca

Jubilee Australia (formal name: the Jubilee Australia Research Centre) engages in research and advocacy to promote economic justice for communities in the Asia-Pacific region and accountability for Australian corporations and government agencies operating there.

www.jubileeaustralia.org