Santa Cruz, Zambales nickel mining impacts sustainable agriculture and fisheries, Philippines

Nickel extraction continues in the rich, arable land of Sta Cruz, Zambales despite the destruction caused to the agriculture and fisheries sector.


Description
Sta. Cruz is a 1st class municipality with rich arable land that is condusive for farming. The whole province of Zambales owes its title as “home of the best carabao mango of the world” to its rich land. Yet this fertile land and its river channels and coastal waters of this town are being highly polluted with nickel laterite, a nickel oxide ore that turns the colors the sea into red, due to polluting practices of several mining companies operating there.
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Basic Data
NameSanta Cruz, Zambales nickel mining impacts sustainable agriculture and fisheries, Philippines
CountryPhilippines
ProvinceZambales
SiteSanta Cruz
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
Specific CommoditiesNickel
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
Zambales Diversified Metals Corp. - 3,765.3853-ha. mine permit for chromite and nickel
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Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population53,867
Start Date01/01/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesZambales Diversified Metals Corp. from Philippines
Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines Inc. from Philippines
Eramen Minerals Inc. from Philippines
LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc (LAMI) from China
Relevant government actorsDepartment of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and Geosciences Bureau

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples

Department of Agriculture
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersConcerned Citizens of Sta Cruz Zambales (CCOS)

Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc

Alyansa Tigil Mina

Philippine Movement for Climate Justice

Bantay Kita

Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (Solidarity of Filipino Workers)

Sanlakas
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
Local ejos
Social movements
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
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, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Fires, Genetic contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other Health impacts
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Other socio-economic impacts
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
But suspension has been lifted in April 2015
Development of AlternativesThe government should use and maximize the land for agricultural use.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The suspension was a short victory. What we demand is full rehabilitation and mine decommission and the pull out of mining activities there.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Executive Order No. 79, s. 2012: Institutionalizing and Implementing Reforms in the Philippine Mining Sector Providing Policies and Guidelines to Ensure Environmental Protection and responsible Mining in the utilization of Mineral Resources
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Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA7942)
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Links

Lawmaker calls for permanent cancellation of licenses of 4 Zambales mining companies
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Zambales mining ban lifted
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Lawmaker calls for permanent cancellation of licenses of 4 Zambales mining companies
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ATM Press Release: EMB stands firm on Zambales mining suspension
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The ‘red sea’ consequence of nickel mining in Zambales
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Media Links

“Tao Muna, Hindi Mina!” in Zambales
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Photos of Cabaluan, Panalabauan and Alinsaog/Sta. Cruz rivers, fishponds and the coastal areas of Sabangan, Bgy. Lipay; newly documented areas like Namlangan in Bgy Guisguis and the coastal areas of Bgy. Malabago. To date the coastal areas of at least six (6) barangays: Bolitoc, Lipay, Poblacion South, Poblacion North, Pagatpat and Malabago are contaminated with nickel laterite affecting marine lives and the corals. Photos c/o CCOS
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Other Documents

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Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food Zambales nickel mining impacts sustainable agriculture and fisheries
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Meta Information
ContributorAlyansa Tigil Mina
Last update28/04/2015
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