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Ottawa protest against OceanaGold
Ottawa protest against OceanaGold

Protests in Ottawa and Vancouver Part of Global Day of Action Against Oceanagold

Jamie Kneen Communications and Outreach Coordinator responsible for: strategic research, social media, and public engagement; our Africa program, environmental assessment, and uranium mining.

On August 9, Canadians in Ottawa and Vancouver took to the streets in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and other Filipinos protesting the environmental destruction and human rights abuses of Canadian-Australian mining company OceanaGold in the Philippines.

OceanaGold’s permit to mine in the village of Didipio in the northern province of Nueva Vizcaya expired on June 20, 2019. However, the company continued to mine without a valid permit until July 1, 2019, when a people’s blockade forced the company to stop mining. The blockade has been in place continuously for over a month.

The people of Didipio have been very clear in their petitions and resolutions that they do not want the mine to be granted a new permit to continue or to expand mining. They are supported in this by Governor Padilla of Nueva Vizcaya and Mayor Tayaban of the Municipality of Kasibu where the mine is located.

In Ottawa, the protest was organized by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, the International League of People’s Struggles, Anakbayan Ottawa, and MiningWatch Canada.

Their press release is here.

In Vancouver, the protest was organized by the Mining Justice Alliance, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, and Migrante B.C. Their statement is below.

We also provide a background brief on the issues related to OceanaGold’s operations in the Philippines.

For more information contact:

Statement by Mining Justice Alliance, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, and Migrante B.C.

Vancouver, BC – August 9, 2019. Marking the International day of Indigenous People, a number of representatives from Vancouver-based solidarity and human rights organizations met in Vancouver’s downtown business district to support the Global Day of Action Against OceanaGold. They delivered a letter to OceanaGold expressing concerns about the company's mining project in Barangay Didipio, the Philippines, where locals have complained of water depletion and pollution, threats to biodiversity, and human and environmental rights violations.

The mine's 25 year Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) expired in Jun 20, 2019. However the company claims it can continue to operate. In the letter, the Mining Justice Alliance (MJA) expressed solidarity with communities affected by the mine – particularly the Vizcaya people who have initiated a blockade of the mine in defence of land, life, and the environment. MJA informed OceanaGold that we would be working to raise public and investors’ awareness about these serious concerns which are linked to its project.

As Canadians, we stand in solidarity with the people of Didipio who have suffered enough in the shadow of OceanaGold’s mine. We call on OceanaGold to stop seeking a permit to mine and to return the land to the people of Didipio in an orderly transition. We also call on the Canadian government to live up to its duty to protect human rights by not prioritizing OceanaGold’s commercial interests over those of the people of Didipio.

Addendum:

The letter was received by Fasken, a law firm which, we were informed, represents OceanaGold. A legal assistant, Dona En received and signed to indicate receipt.

Organizations represented:

  • Mining Justice Alliance (Vancouver, BC)
  • Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR)
  • Migrante BC