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Crew gets Mindoro production agreement: 10000 protesters for complete halt

In January, Crew got a production agreement for an extended prospecting area on the Philippine island of Mindoro. The agreement gives the company exclusive mining rights for 25 + 25 years. The local community has reacted strongly against the agreement and gathered 10,000 people for a protest meeting in late February. The protesters burned Arne Isberg, Crew's country manager in the Philippines, in effigy.
Artikkelen er mer enn to år gammel. Ting kan ha endret seg.
In January, Crew got a production agreement for an extended prospecting area on the Philippine island of Mindoro. The agreement gives the company exclusive mining rights for 25 + 25 years. The local community has reacted strongly against the agreement and gathered 10,000 people for a protest meeting in late February. The protesters burned Arne Isberg, Crew's country manager in the Philippines, in effigy.


By Morten Rønning
Norwatch

The Norwegian-Canadian Crew Development Corp. issued a news release about the so-called Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) on 31 January. The agreement involves Crew's subsidiary, the Aglubang Mining Corporation, and covers an area of 2,291 hectares. The company estimates the nickel reserves of the area at 72 million [metric] tons. The opposite party in the agreement is the former Secretary of the Department for Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Antonio H. Cerilles. Former president of the Philippines, Joseph Estrada, who was forced to resign in January, gave his assent to Crew's production agreement in December last year, according to the Philippine Star. The agreement gives Crew exclusive rights to develop and operate mines in the area for 25 years to come, plus the option of extending the agreement for another 25 years. Crew has concessions for a total of 9,700 hectares on Mindoro.

Ten thousand people, led by the Mindoro Alliance Against Mining (ALAMIN), gathered to protest the agreement in the city of Victoria on 27 February. The rally's slogan was "The Struggle Continues: Junk the Mindoro Nickel Project." Participants came from all over the Oriental Mindoro Province, and consisted of indigenous people (Mangyan), farmers, fishermen, women's groups, local authorities, youth groups, schools, and religious organisations. The rally was also backed by the Catholic Church, with church leaders, priests and nuns taking part.

Speakers at the rally gave a strong retort to Crew Development Corp., to the production agreement, to the former Secretary of Environment and Resources, and to the Philippines'  Mining Act of 1995. Demands were made for the rehabilitation of watersheds and for rejecting the company's plans for the sub-sea dumping of wastes. They also demanded that charges be brought against the president of the Mindoro Media Bureau for having promoted the nickel project at the expense of Mindoro. The protesters then burned him as well as Crew's country manager, Arne Isberg, in effigy, says ALAMIN's Tita de Guzman.

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"We wish to make known that the Estrada Administration is promoting socially responsible and environment-friendly mineral development."
- Antonio H. Cerilles, DENR Secretary.

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Crew Development Corp. in the Philippines
Norwegian Mindex ASA, which started operations on Mindoro nearly ten years ago, merged with the Canadian mining company Crew Development Corp. in January, 2000. The company is listed on the Main List of the Oslo Stock Exchange, as well as in Canada, the US, and Germany. About 40% of the shareholders are Norwegians, and two out of eight members of the board come from Mindex, namely, Brian Jepsen and Anders Hvide. The company runs mining and prospecting activities in South Africa, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Greenland, and Norway, besides the Philippines.

Norwatch Newsletter 4/01

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