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Mamanwa Communities of Dinarawan and Bunga Asserting Ancestral Land Rights over MRL Agata Mining expansion, Philippines


The MRL Agata Nickel Mining project will expand, with a permit to expand to what it calls the Tapian Extension (which has an Exploration Permit for 6,842.28 hectares). This EP overlaps with the Mamanwa ancestral domain claim that has a total area of 8,000 hectares. ( Chronological events with regard to the expansion in Jabonga are as follows: May 11, 1999: MRL received certification to begin exploration in work in Agata, Santiago, Agusan del Norte, from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

June 17, 1999: Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued Exploration Permit.

June 23, 1999: The MRL team began the “early stage of exploration”.

**The May 11 certification of Raiz read that, based on "field investigation and verification conducted by the NCIP within the areas covered by MPSA XIII-07," there are "no indigenous peoples living within the subject areas, nor are there any existing applications for certificate of ancestral domain claim or certificate of ancestral land title.” (Reference:

To date, the Mamanwa communities have not been properly consulted about the project. This was also the basis for the filing of an IFC complaint against MRL. (

In its Scoping Study in 2010, MRL indicated the communities that will be affected by the project include Mamanwa and Manobo communities and fisherfolks and farmers. It said it will impact Lake Mainit and effect development, environmental and social impacts such as: a. Erosion and rehabilitation of drill sites and trenches; b. Waste material; c. Water and effluent management; d. Consultation of communities/FPIC; and e. Compensation and management of local expectations of IP communities.

For the Mamanwas, a major concern is the displacement of indigenous communities and their culture, and the lack of consultation (including general public) about the mining project. The mining activities and mine expansion will cause soil erosion that will eventually destroy farmlands and lake causing reduction in harvest for farmers and fishermen.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Mamanwa Communities of Dinarawan and Bunga Asserting Ancestral Land Rights over MRL Agata Mining expansion, Philippines
State or province:Agusan Del Norte
Location of conflict:Municipality of Jabonga
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
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Copper

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Mindoro Resources Limited is a junior mining company focused on nickel, gold and copper-gold explorations in the Philippines. Its headquarters are in Edmonton, Canada, and it is dual listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange Venture and Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is one of its major shareholders with an investment of up to C$10 million, equivalent to 9% of MRL’s total equity.

The Agata DSO project is held by Agata Mining Ventures Inc. ("AMVI"), a joint venture company owned 40% by Mindoro and 60% by TVI Resource Development (Phils.), Inc.

Estimated contained nickel is 390,000 tonnes.

Project area:8,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project12,000,000.00
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:2,000-5,000
Start of the conflict:1999
Company names or state enterprises:Mindoro Resources Ltd from Canada - mining
TVIRD Resource Development Phils. Inc. (TVIRD) from Philippines
Agata Mining Ventures Inc. from Philippines - mining
Relevant government actors:Department of Environment and Natural Resources
International and Finance InstitutionsCorporación financiera Internacional (CFI)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Dinarawan Indigenous People’s Organization (DIPO)
Philippine Association for Intercultural Development
Alyansa Tigil Mina

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageUnknown
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Mamanwa Communities of Dinarawan and Bunga
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, 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, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Other Health impacts, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Displacement, Land dispossession
Other socio-economic impactsViolation of indigenous peoples rights


Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:In March 2012, the CAO Ombudsman concluded its process and referred the complaint to CAO Compliance for initial appraisal.
Proposal and development of alternatives:Cancellation of the project expansion in ancestral lands
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Philippine Mining Act of 1995

The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA)

Executive Order No. 79 (July 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

Mindoro Resources Company website

Other documents

Mamanwa people—Asserting Ancestral Land Rights Amidst the Challenge of the Mining Industry

Meta information

Contributor:Alyansa Tigil Mina
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1897



Map of Jabonga, Agusan del Norte

Jabonga is a municipality composed of indigenous cultural communities and Christian dwellers, that depend on the land for different crops and Lake Mainit (and Butuan Bay) for most of their livelihood.