Global coalition calls for cancellation of OceanaGold mine renewal in Philippines

May 15, 2024

A coalition of 89 civil society organizations from 21 countries has called for the cancellation of OceanaGold’s Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) in the Philippines, citing a lack of public consultation and various violations. 

The groups are backing a petition from affected communities demanding the agreement’s termination.

In a statement, the coalition claimed that the renewal of OceanaGold’s FTAA ignored international environmental and human rights standards, including the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Resolution Recognizing the Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment.

“We believe that international environmental and human rights laws, norms, and standards were disregarded by OceanaGold’s FTAA renewal,” the groups said.

OceanaGold’s FTAA, renewed in 2021 for another 25 years by the Office of the President, has faced criticism for allegedly bypassing required consultations and violating Nueva Vizcaya’s environmental code, which bans open-pit mining.

“OceanaGold’s mining operations in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya have been implicated in environmental, socio-economic, and civil-political rights violations,” the signatories stated, noting that these issues have been highlighted by the Philippine Commission on Human Rights and various UN Special Rapporteurs.

The coalition is particularly concerned about the threat to Nueva Vizcaya’s watershed, which serves 3.9 million Filipinos, irrigates 90,000 hectares of agricultural land, and supports 480 species of flora and fauna.

Indigenous and community leaders, along with Bishop Elmer Mangalinao of the Catholic Diocese of Bayombong, have filed a Petition for Continuing Mandamus. The petition alleges violations of constitutional rights to local autonomy, public participation, and a balanced and healthful ecology.

The organizations are urging relevant bodies to investigate OceanaGold’s operations. They also call on shareholders and others in OceanaGold’s global value chain to conduct due diligence and hold the company accountable for any environmental and human rights breaches.

The petition came amid a global surge in demand for metals essential for renewable energy production. The UN Commission on Trade and Investment predicts a substantial increase in demand for transition metals, with estimates suggesting a 400 percent rise by 2030 and up to 1,600 percent by 2050.

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