HomeNewsGreen group slams government plan to revitalize mining industry

Green group slams government plan to revitalize mining industry

The Department of Finance this week announced that the government wants to accelerate the revival of the local mining industry

Anti-mining activist group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) slammed the government’s plan to accelerate the revival of the local mining industry supposedly to support the country’s economic recovery.

“This is very alarming, especially for mine-affected communities who have to deal with the negative impacts of mining,” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM national coordinator.

He said the revitalization of the mining industry “could only lead to food and water insecurity, land-use changes, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, air and water pollution and the displacement of communities.”

The Department of Finance on Wednesday, July 6, announced that the government wants to accelerate the revival of the local mining industry.

“I think mining is a growth sector because as you know, because of the crisis, the price of metals has gone up significantly,” said Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno in a television interview.

The National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Finance and the Development Academy of the Philippines have earlier said mining and quarrying “contributed significantly to the regional [gross domestic products] in regions where there are mining operations.”

The share of the mining output to GDP was, however, a mere 0.06 percent.

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Diokno admitted that mining’s contribution to the country’s economy in recent years was affected by “environmental concerns.”

Mining used to be a huge contributor to the economy, particularly in the 1980s when the industry accounted for 21 percent of the country’s export earnings and over two percent of GDP.

Garganera of ATM said environmental concerns should, however, be among the government’s highest priority in its economic recovery program.

“Ignoring the harmful environmental consequences of mining in the drive to revitalize the mining industry could only do more damage to the economy,” he said.

He said the way out of the economic slump is not more environmental degradation but “a rational management of the country’s natural resources, especially at this time of climate change and looming disasters.”

“It is imperative that alternatives to mining be pursued if government truly wants to revive the economy,” said Garganera.

The anti-mining activist group called for a “full disclosure” of all the mine audit reports and the immediate review of the mine audits.

ATM also called on the new administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to immediately convene an environmental summit that will involve affected-communities and environmental groups to assess and craft the administration’s environmental and climate program.

The activists also called on the government to convene a multi-stakeholder dialogue to tackle current mining issues.

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