Environmental activists call on ANZ Bank and HSBC

to stop funding destructive mining project in Nueva Vizcaya


Makati City


August 29, 2008




Photos courtesy of KALIKASAN


26 Matulungin St. Central District, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel./Fax; +63 (2) 924-8756; E-mail: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com url: www.kalikasan.org

Press Release
29 August 2008

Indigenous peoples and environmental activists to ANZ Bank and HSBC: stop funding destructive mining project in Nueva Vizcaya

Environmentalists, indigenous peoples, and Church people picketed the Australian New Zealand (ANZ) Bank office at Makati City demanding the bank to withdraw its financial funding from the controversial OceanaGold Corporation (OGC) Didipio Gold-Copper mining project in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya.

The protesters symbolically launched their international campaign against the said project by submitting to the bank a petition supported by various organizations from the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.

"The petition is demanding for ANZ and HSBC, who are the major funders of OceanaGold, to pull out from the Didipio mining project. It would not be agreeable for ANZ and HSBC to be known as supporters of projects which have caused massive environmental degradation and human rights violations. These offenses run contrary to their claims of 'socially and environmentally responsible' banking norms," said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of environmental activist group Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment.

The group said that they have already gathered 495 signatures in a week's time, mostly from the Philippines and Australia.

"We believe that the Didipio mining project of OGC is becoming more financially and economically unviable every day. Until now, there are no fresh investments and loans that are coming to the project. Based on its own financial report, OGC is consistently losing money since last year. This should serve as a warning to new investors not to risk their money in a project which is financially unstable, environmentally destructive and socially unacceptable," Bautista added.

Last June 24, Australian-New Zealand owned OceanaGold Philippines Inc. said the firm is suspending its $117-million gold-copper project due to the controversies hounding its operations and financial difficulties its facing. Based on the annual reports of OGC, it lost US$23.43 million and US$69.04 million in 2006 and 2007 respectively. This is in spite the company having raised additional capital of Canadian $90.00 million in its initial public offering in the Toronto Stock Exchange last July 2007.

In addition to OGC's financial instability, the project is garnering much negative publicity because of the wrongs it has committed to the local and national minority residents. Even the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya passed a resolution withdrawing their support for the project last June 25.

"Majority of the Ifugao and indigenous peoples in Nueva Vizcaya is strongly opposed to the OGC project in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. OGC violated our rights as indigenous people when they entered our communities without our consent. They have demolished our houses and are now forcefully seizing our natural resources and lands where we get our food and subsistence," said Peter Duyapat, Ifugao leader of Didipio Earth Savers Movement (DESAMA).

Bautista pointed out that the mining project is doomed to fail as it is inherently flawed. It has caused widespread community displacement, human rights violations, economic dislocation and environmental devastation since it set foot in Nueva Vizcaya.

"OceanaGold will suffer the same fate as the Australian-owned Lafayette Mining Philippines Inc. which went bankrupt last December 2007. The support given to Lafayette by the Arroyo government and international banks were not enough to salvage it from financial losses and wide national and international opposition. The OGC and Lafayette mining projects are both anti-people and anti-environment. These are the main reasons why OGC will not prosper and will fail," according to a statement of Defend Patrimony! Alliance, a national multi-sectoral alliance opposing the government's mining policy and programs.


Reference: Clemente Bautista 09228449787, National Coordinator, KPNE
Peter Duyapat Sr. 09057119685, leader DESAMA

National Coordinator
Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE)
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy, Central, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756 Fax No. +63-2-9209099
Email: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com
Website: www.kalikasan.org

KALIKASAN- People's Network for the Environment is a network of people's organizations (POs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and environmental advocates. It believes that the struggle for the environment is a struggle of the people, thus all environmental action shall have the interest of the majority at their core.