(Ottawa) The government of the Philippine Province of Marinduque files suit today for over a hundred million dollars against Canadian mining giant Placer Dome Inc. (PDG). The suit, being filed in Nevada, U.S.A., is spearheaded by a team of attorneys based in Texas.
The provincial government of Marinduque holds Placer Dome responsible for decades of destructive mining on the island. The suit seeks funds for: the clean up and rehabilitation of polluted lands, rivers, coastal shores and bays; compensation for economic damages including lost property and livelihoods; damages for resulting health problems now and in the future; and the repair of deteriorating mine structures holding back tonnes of mine waste, which poses an imminent threat to downstream communities and environments.
"We are resolved to see that Placer Dome is made to answer for what it has done to our island and its people," says Provincial Board member Allan Nepomuceno "after reaping the wealth of our province for decades, Placer Dome left us with the nothing but lost lives, environmental destruction and the bill for the clean up of all the toxic waste that threatens the future of our children and grandchildren."
Canadian Citizens and non-governmental organizations have vigorously engaged both Placer Dome and the Canadian government over this issue since the 1980s to no avail. Now a parliamentary committee report calls on the government to take greater responsibility for the behaviour of Canadian corporations overseas. “When it comes to human rights and the environment we need a law that prohibits Canadian companies from doing abroad what they are no longer permitted to do at home." stated Ed Broadbent, Member of Parliament, Ottawa Centre.
Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada lived in Marinduque for more than a year and witnessed the devastation of the island’s Calancan Bay and the loss of livelihood of 12 fishing villages “Placer Dome managed those mines and were the technical experts,” says Coumans, “Placer knew that what it was doing in Marinduque would be illegal in Canada but Placer thought they could get away with it, so they simply ignored the pleas of the people of Marinduque to stop the destruction of their environment.”
Representing Marinduque in the lawsuit is a team of attorneys spearheaded by Diamond McCarthy Taylor Finley & Lee, L.L.P., a Texas-based litigation boutique, and Snell & Wilmer, L.L.P., a Phoenix, Arizona-based firm with over 400 attorneys resident in offices throughout the Western United States. Skip Scott of Diamond McCarthy spoke for both firms when he said: “You cannot come away from Marinduque without being deeply moved and incensed by the sheer devastation and callous disregard for life and property. The people there are simple farmers and fisher-folk that depend upon the land, rivers and marine life for their livelihood. They deserve a forum in which to seek justice.”
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For further information contact:
Walter “Skip” Scott, Jr., Diamond McCarthy Taylor Finley & Lee, L.L.P., 214-389-5337
Hon. Ed Broadbent, Member of Parliament, Ottawa Centre 613-995-1794
Mr. Allan Nepomuceno, Provincial Board of Marinduque, 613-569-3439
Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada 613-569-3439