All 12 Australian mining companies operating in the Philippines adhere to the “highest safety and environmental standards,” Australian Ambassador to the country Rod Smith said Monday.
His comment came following complaints of killings, harassments and mass displacement of indigenous tribes filed against Oceana Gold, which operates the US$320 million copper and gold mining project in Didipio, Nueva Viscaya.
Smith said he was unaware of the ongoing investigation of the Commission on Human Rights on a complaint against Oceana Gold.
Last week, CHR chairwoman Leila de Lima said her office was investigating Oceana on allegations that it demolished some 180 houses owned by the local tribes in Didipio to make way for the mining operations. The CHR is also looking into the killing of a local
official in Didipio in May after he tried to mediate between local officials and the mining firm.
“I am not aware of that, we have no information on that case,” Smith said when asked about the case and his office’s action regarding it.
“We are confident that all the Australian mining companies in the Philippines give highest priority on sustainable development,” he said.
Smith said 12 Australian mining companies in the Philippines are “under different stages of operations.”
Information from the Australian embassy shows that apart from the Nueva Viscaya operations of Oceana Gold, the following mining firms operate in the country:
– Tampakan copper and gold project in South Cotabato by Sagittarius Mines, Xtrata Copper, and Indophil Resources,
– Pujada nickel project in Davao Oriental by BHP Billiton and QNI Philippines,
– Aroroy gold project in Masbata, Bicol by CGA Mining,
– Philsaga gold project in Agusan del Sur by Medusa mining firm,
– Acoje PGE nickel project in Zambales by Rusina mining company,
– Siana Gold mining project in Surigao del Norte by Red 5 Limited,
– Pao copper and gold project in Nueva Ecija by Royalco Resources,
– Romblon nickel project in Sibuyan island in Romblon by Pelican Resources,
– Nalesbitan gold project in Camarines Norte in Bicol by Eldore Mining Corp., and
– Taguibo project in Davao Oriental by Sierra Mining.