Today is a red-letter day for grassroots mining activists around the world: Fr. Edwin Gariguez is awarded the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize for his work to stop irresponsible mining development on Mindoro Island in the Philippines. I’m looking forward to seeing Fr. Edwin receive his award at the San Francisco Opera House this evening, along with 5 other amazing Prize recipients from around the world. (By the way, if you can’t be there, make sure you watch this video clip about Fr. Edwin, narrated by Robert Redford.)
Fr. Edu, as he is affectionately known, is being recognized by the Goldman Prize for working to defend the Indigenous communities and biological diversity of Mindoro from a giant nickel mine proposed by Intex, a Norwegian mining company. The mine would be built in two key biodiversity areas, and within one of Mindoro’s major watersheds, which provides drinking and irrigation water to many lowland communities. If developed, the nickel mine would destroy vast swaths of tropical forests, and would produce several million tons of toxic waste. Mindoro’s Mangyan Indigenous communities would also be hurt by the mine, as the proposed mining area is within their ancestral land. As Fr. Edu has said, “For the indigenous Mangyan people living on Mindoro Island, the struggle to protect our threatened ecology is a matter of survival.”
Fr. Edwin Gariguez honored for halting Norwegian-owned nickel mine in Mindoro
SAN FRANCISCO, April 16, 2012 — Today, Fr. Edwin Gariguez, a Catholic priest and mining activist from the Philippines, was awarded the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize for work to stop irresponsible mining on Mindoro Island in the Philippines. Six recipients from six different regions in the world were recognized by the Goldman Prize - the largest environmental award in the world - for their sustained efforts to protect the environment, often at great personal risk.
“For the indigenous Mangyan people living on Mindoro Island, the struggle to protect our threatened ecology is a matter of survival,” said Gariguez, 2012 Goldman Prize winner for Islands and Island Nations. We should not sacrifice people and the environment for the sake of short term profits by a few, " he added.
The Ramu nickel mine in in Papua New Guinea wants to tear up the land and flush millions of tons of toxic mineral waste directly into the ocean just off-shore in Basamuk/Astrolabe Bay. "Out of sight, out of mind," the companies want people to think of that waste dumping. Well the ocean is not a toilet for the mining companies' toxic waste, and landowners around the coastal area of Papua New Guinea have said "not so fast!"
Several Madang community members, recently joined by an additional 998 landowner plaintiffs, have filed a lawsuit to demand a permanent injunction against the Ramu Nickel project's plan to directly dump mine waste, or tailings, into the ocean. After months of delays, during which the mine built up its project, the government sought to ban lawsuits against mining companies, and mine promoters harassed and scared off the original plaintiffs, the community members finally got their day in court as proceedings began yesterday and continued today.
One might think that while reviewing some of its environmental and social safeguard policies, the World Bank might hesitate to approve support for controversial mining projects that civil society groups express tremendous concern about. Well, guess again. Just yesterday, the Bank approved a guarantee for a new destructive mining project in Indonesia.
Jakarta and Washington, D.C., 14 July -- An international civil society coalition today condemned the World Bank for approving support for a destructive nickel mine that would displace Indigenous Peoples, destroy vast areas of intact tropical forest, and threaten rivers and the ocean with sediment and toxic chemicals. The Board of Directors of the World Bank Group yesterday approved a guarantee by the Bank's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) for the Weda Bay Nickel mine. Of the 23 Executive Directors of the World Bank, only the US Director abstained from the vote. Indonesian-based WALHI and DC-based EARTHWORKS and Bank Information Center joined JATAM, KIARA, KAU and other Indonesian groups today in declaring that the approval of a $207 million guarantee application for a risky and damaging nickel and cobalt mine demonstrates the fundamental flaws of the World Bank's procedures, polices, and practices on extractive industry.
The World Bank's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) is considering providing a guarantee for support of a nickel mine in Indonesia that would destroy vast areas of tropical rain forest in the buffer zone of a National Park -- in an area that was previously nominated to be part of the National Park. And it would pollute rivers with large quantities of sediment and probably toxic waste drainage. And dump the processing waste water into the ocean at only 15m below the surface. In an area with coral reefs.