PHILIPPINES: Indigenous Peoples’ Group Challenges Aquino Regime: ‘Stop Foreign Mining And Plunder Of Resources’

Indigenous peoples under the progressive partylist KATRIBU, together with various environmental groups, called on the Aquino administration to halt foreign mining operations and defend national resources from plunder, in a protest action at Mendiola earlier today.

More than 600 people from KATRIBU and other groups held the protest in commemoration of the 17th anniversary of the passage of the Philippine Mining Act, which liberalized mining in the country and encouraged foreign investments in the industry.

Protesters decried Aquino’s policy on mining as subservient to foreign interests, and burned an effigy of a foreign puppeteer controlling a marionette of the Philippine president in a backhoe during the program to symbolize their condemnation. More

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PHILIPPINES: Conference renews push for Peoples’ Mining Bill

PUBLISHED ON MARCH 2, 2012

By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – “A hundred years after exporting our precious timber, have we become rich?” This is the question Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino threw to the participants of the 3rd Peoples Mining Conference happening until today in Tagaytay City.

The conference has drawn nearly 200 environmentalists from all over the Philippines who, in an earlier regional sharing of mining updates, have already detailed how, on the contrary, most ordinary citizens are becoming poorer and more miserable with every operation of huge mining corporations because of massive resource extraction in their midst. More

INDIA: Vedanta’s PR campaign backfires as Bollywood celebs pull out

5 March

The Dongria Kondh reasserted their pledge never to leave the Niyamgiri Hills, at a festival in February.
The Dongria Kondh reasserted their pledge never to leave the Niyamgiri Hills, at a festival in February.
© Bikash Khemka/Survival

A bid by British mining giant Vedanta Resources to repair its tarnished international reputation has backfired after two major Bollywood celebrities withdrew from a film competition supposed to show the ‘happiness’ the company creates.

Renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal and Bollywood actress Gul Panag were both part of a judging panel, which had until the end of this month to pick a winning film out of the 38 submitted.

The films were all shot by ‘budding film-makers’, who were escorted by Vedanta around villages where it has a presence.

The objective of the competition was to show the ‘happiness’ Vedanta brings to local communities where it works.

Vedanta’s reputation was irreversibly damaged when it ignored the rights of the Dongria Kondh tribe, whose sacred mountain it sought to mine for aluminum ore.

Due to the mounting tribal protests and international criticism of their actions in Orissa, India, Vedanta initiated a PR offensive extolling their virtues. But this short film reveals how easily their lies and manipulations can be debunked.

Gul Panag, who was crowned Miss India in 1999, was only made aware of Vedanta’s involvement when it was brought to her attention via social media.

She tweeted, ‘My bad. Just got full details. I wasn’t aware that the competition was part of Vedanta glorification/PR. Have pulled out.’ More

PHILIPPINES: Groups from Northern Luzon hold protest against mining corporations

PUBLISHED ON MARCH 1, 2012

By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com

Some 300 members of anti-irresponsible mining groups and residents from various provinces in Northern Luzon held a rally in front of the offices of well-know mining corporations in Manila earlier this week in protest against what they said are the countless rights violations these companies have been perpetuating as they implement their mining projects.

Northern Luzon is composed of the Cagayan Valley, Ilocos and Cordillera regions where famous man-made and natural wonders can be found such as the Baguio rice terraces. Majority of residents come from marginalized sectors, among them peasants, fisher folk and indigenous peoples. Many of the mining projects that are posed for implementation are in the mountainous areas where the communities of several indigenous groups such as the Agta, Ilongot and Igorot have been established for centuries. More

PHILIPPINES: Government misses mining Executive Order deadline

By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
3:49 am | Thursday, March 1st, 2012

The Aquino administration has failed to meet its own deadline to come up with a comprehensive mining policy amid concerns in the industry over a draft executive order outlining such a proposed mining policy.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. on Wednesday said that “due to the weighty issues involved and the significant impact the mining industry has on the welfare of our people and the environment, we are at present conducting additional consultations with industry stakeholders.” More

INDIA: Consent of local village councils must for mining – Tribal Affairs Minister

Kishore Chandra Deo | Consent of local village councils must for mining

Gram Sabhas should become more effective as this will ensure transparency, and corruption will be minimized

Liz Mathew 

New Delhi: The environment ministry will not clear any mining in forest areas unless local village councils give their consent, Kishore Chandra Deo, minister of tribal affairs and Panchayati Raj, said in an interview. A Congress leader from Andhra Pradesh, Deo took charge of the two ministries in July. He said the revival of village councils is the best way to ensure larger people’s participation in governance Edited excerpts: More

BANGLADESH: Open-pit coal mine project in Bangladesh threatens human rights – UN experts

Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

28 February 2012 –

The construction of an open-pit coal mine in Bangladeshcould displace hundreds of thousands of people and jeopardize their access to basic needs, a group of United Nations independent human rights experts warned today.“The Government of Bangladesh must ensure that any policy concerning open-pit coal mining includes robust safeguards to protect human rights. In the interim, the Phulbari coal mine should not be allowed to proceed because of the massive disruptions it is expected to cause,” the experts said in a statement.The group noted that if opened, the proposed mine would immediately displace an estimated 50,000 to 130,000 people, with up to 220,000 potentially being affected over time as irrigation channels and wells dry up.In addition, the project would reportedly extract 572 million tons of coal over the next 36 years from a site covering nearly 6,000 hectares, and destroy some 12,000 hectares of productive agricultural land. More

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