Group rejects offer for mining tragedy
A church group stood its ground against the indemnity being offered by a mining company for the damage that resulted from almost 30 years of mining operations on Marinduque Island.
Negotiations between the provincial government of Marinduque and Barrick Gold Corp. continued with a $20-million compensation offer on the table, that, if signed, would end an almost 10-year legal battle in a US court.
Barrick Gold bought out Marcopper Mining Corp. and its parent company, Placer Dome, after the 1996 mine tailing spill on Marinduque’s major river system, now considered the worst mining disaster in the Philippines.
The Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (Macec), however, said the proposed settlement should be rejected, “not only because the amount was too small, but because of certain conditions absolving the company of environmental damages.”
“Among those conditions is that the settlement proceeds can never be used for the repair and rehabilitation [of the damaged rivers and mining structures] when it was the purpose [of the lawsuit] in the first place,” Macec executive director Elizabeth Manggol said in a phone interview on Monday.
Macec, a multisectoral group under the Diocese of Boac, has been at the forefront of the $100-million lawsuit the Marinduque government filed against the company in 2005.
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