Philippine bishop vows to continue fight vs mining

July 17, 2021

A Catholic bishop has reaffirmed his commitment to oppose mining following the decision of the Philippine government to allow OceanaGold Corporation to restart its operations.

Bishop Jose Elmer Mangalinao of Bayombong on July 16 said the renewal of the company’s mining deal with the government “breaks our hearts but it will never silence us to fight for our common home.”

“We will continue to pray for the end of mining in our province. We will continue to speak until our voices [are] heard,” said the prelate.

OceanaGold Corporation announced on July 14 that the government has renewed its contract for the Didipio gold and copper mine for another 25 years.

The company said the terms and conditions set in the original financial or technical assistance agreement (FTAA) were unchanged, and it planned to resume operations “as soon as possible.”

Bishop Mangalinao said the national government “has once again favored” the interest of the big businesses OceanaGold over the cry of the environment and the people.

He said the “distressing” move of the government was made “despite our strong opposition and without proper and public consultations.”

The prelate reiterated that the “promised benefits” of the mining operations “will never outweigh the destruction” it brings in the province of Nueva Vizcaya.

Bishop Mangalinao, who heads the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the clergy of the Diocese of Bayombong will “continue to fight” for the environment.

OceanaGold produces up to 550,000 ounces of gold and 15,000 metric tons of copper yearly from its four mine sites in Didipio in the Philippines, Haile in the United States, and Macraes and Waihi in New Zealand. ###

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