San Roque Metals Inc. Nickel mining in Tubay, Agusan del Norte, Philippines

Environmental destruction, militarization and arbitrary bombings: the ‘new’ modus operandi of how some mining companies establish large-scale operations in the Philippines.


Description
San Roque Metals Incorporation (SRMI) started mining operations in Tubay in 2006, initially as a small-scale venture, but was awarded in 2008 and 2009 two Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) [1;2]. Since the beginning of their operations, villagers as well as local governmental officers have complained about environmental destruction, negatively affected livelihood resources (i.e., fishing and farming), as well as health impacts, such as through increasing respiratory diseases through mining dust. SRMI was accused of violently forced evictions [7] and has several court cases pending since 2007, such as surpassing its small-scale mining limit and a filed case for plunder and theft [7;8]. Moreover, the tribal group who signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) complained that royalties, to which they are entitled because SRMI operates on their ancestral lands, remained unpaid [3].
See more...
Basic Data
NameSan Roque Metals Inc. Nickel mining in Tubay, Agusan del Norte, Philippines
CountryPhilippines
ProvinceAgusan del Norte province
SiteTubay municipality, Barangay Fraternidad
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesRare metals
Iron ore
Nickel, cobalt
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
San Roque Metals Incorporation (SRMI) started mining operations in Tubay since 2006, initially as a small-scale venture [2]. On September 24, 2007, SRMI was shut down because “the company has exceeded its allowable annual production of 50,000 metric tons other than holding a small–scale mining permit R.A. 7076 (Small–scale Mining Act)” [g].
See more...
Project Area (in hectares)1079.05
Level of Investment (in USD)unknown
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationmore than 20,000
Start Date2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesSR Metals Incorporation (SRMI) from Philippines - mining
Relevant government actorsDepartment of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its attached agencies — the Environment Management Bureau (EMB), Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB); Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and Bureau of Soil.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersSangguniang Bayan of Tubay; Accredited Tribal Sectoral Leaders of Indigenous Cultural Communities of Tubay; Hinaki Tribal Association in Sitio Hinaki; Municipal tribal council of Tubay; National Solidarity Mission led by Task Force Surigao; Support Group Higala sa Bakwit; Roman Catholic Parish Church of Tubay; Kahugpong sa Lumadnong Organisasyon (KASALO); Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM); Kalikasan PNE, and others.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Fishermen
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
indigenous Manobo, Mamanwa tribes
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Potential: Malnutrition, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Deaths
OtherExposure to toxic contamination of water and soil
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement
Potential: Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (undecided)
Migration/displacement
Repression
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesVillagers and local government officers are fighting to completely stop SRMI's operation. In addition they claim unpaid taxes and royalties.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The project goes on
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Philippine Mining Act of 1995
[click to view]

The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA)
[click to view]

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7076 AN ACT CREATING A PEOPLE"S SMALL-SCALE MINING PROGRAM AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
[click to view]

Links

[2] Minda News online (10/02/2011): "Tubay mayor says floods aggravated by overflow of mining firm’s settling pond" (accessed 04/05/2015)
[click to view]

[3] GMA News online (05/12/2010): "Agusan Norte officials, town folk urge nickel miner to go" (accessed 04/05/2015)
[click to view]

[4] Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) Press Release: "Mining firm in Agusan: unsystematic, inadequate – says MGB probe" (accessed 04/05/2015)
[click to view]

[5] PIPLINKS online (25/04/2012): "Indigenous peoples and environmental activists protest military bombing in Mindanao" (accessed 04/05/2015)
[click to view]

[6] MGB communciation (20/04/2012): "Monitoring team: Mining has no major violation" (accessed 04/05/2015)
[click to view]

[7] Inside Mindanao (21/03/2008): "Mining guards demolish 50 houses of Mamanwa tribe" (accessed 04/05/2015)
[click to view]

[8] InterAksyon online (03/12/2014): "SC upholds ruling that Erice-linked mining firm is liable for violating ECC" (accessed 04/05/2015)
[click to view]

Media Links

Short video produced by affected locals
[click to view]

SRMI corporate video
[click to view]

Video on the environmental conflict (in Tagalog)
[click to view]

Other Documents

[1] MGB List of MPSA as of November, 2014
[click to view]

Mining site Source: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/37654378
[click to view]

Access point to the mining site Source: http://www.mgbr13.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=141:monitoring-team-mining-has-no-major-violation-&catid=11:external-affairs&Itemid=52
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorA. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim"dot" scheidel" at" gmail "dot" com
Last update06/05/2015
Comments