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Cagayan-Iligan Disaster: Dire Warning for Xstrata-SMI


Media Statement - National Democratic Front

The recent environmental disaster in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, which took the lives of more than a thousand people and rendered tens of thousands homeless, carries a most important and urgent message for all of us: Logging and large scale mining is dangerous and destructive. It will bring landslides and floods and kill a lot of people and destroy their livelihood.

Yet, as the people bury their dead today and try to recover from one of the worst floods in northern Mindanao, the mining company Xstrata-SMI has turned utterly deaf to all the sensible warnings and precautions as it continues to pursue its copper gold mining projects in the quadriboundary of southern Mindanao.

The bishops of Kidapawan, Marbel and Digos of the Catholic Church have also expressed in no uncertain terms their opposition to Xstrata’s Tampakan project: “facilities like fresh water dam and tailings dam will be constructed at the Mal River Catchment, but these huge storage facilities are directly under criss-crossing faultlines; and that the Tampakan mine has a high potential for loss of life and high environmental damage if a failure of Dams or Rock Storage facilities occurs...”

Aside from this, the company has also to address the question of denudation of forest lands particularly Bolol Lomot; the displacement of thousands of lumad families; the diversion of surface and groundwater for the use of the mine, the acid drainage, spillage, leakages, overflows and contamination of the natural water source; and the impending risk of a tailings dam failure or collapse. All these for the multinational Xstrata’s greed for profit.

This wanton destruction of our natural resources in FarSouth Mindanao is the precursor of another disaster similar to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. We must act before it is too late. We must, at all cost, stop Xstrata-SMI from continuing with its gold and copper projects.

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