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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.


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.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Santa Cruz, Zambales nickel mining impacts sustainable agriculture and fisheries, Philippines
State or province:Zambales
Location of conflict:Santa 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 commodities:Nickel
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
Affected Population:53,867
Start of the conflict:01/01/2011
Company names or state enterprises:Zambales 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 actors:Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and Geosciences Bureau
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
Department of Agriculture
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Concerned 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)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Social movements
Religious groups
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation 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
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-economical 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
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
But suspension has been lifted in April 2015
Development of alternatives:The government should use and maximize the land for agricultural use.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The suspension was a short victory. What we demand is full rehabilitation and mine decommission and the pull out of mining activities there.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA7942)
[click to view]

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
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

ATM Press Release: EMB stands firm on Zambales mining suspension
[click to view]

Zambales mining ban lifted
[click to view]

The ‘red sea’ consequence of nickel mining in Zambales
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

“Tao Muna, Hindi Mina!” in Zambales
[click to view]

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
[click to view]

Other documents

Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food Zambales nickel mining impacts sustainable agriculture and fisheries
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Alyansa Tigil Mina
Last update18/08/2019
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