(Manila) Ivanhoe Philippines, Inc. has asked the Philippine Mines and Geosciences Bureau for a "withdrawal of the company's exploration permit applications (...) in Tablas Island."
In a letter dated September 30, 2011, Ivanhoe cited "strong opposition of the local politicians" to its copper-gold prospects. According to Pearl Harder, member of a broad coalition that formed to oppose Ivanhoe's operations, "The politicians are only doing what we the people have asked them to do. We are opposed to metallic mining in the Province of Romblon because we know it will harm our environment and our livelihood from agriculture and tourism." Ivanhoe acknowledges strong local opposition saying the company will relocate its efforts to "communities responsive to exploration and mining."
Arriving in Tablas the day after Ivanhoe's decision was made public on October 13, Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada says, "I found a celebratory mood in Tablas among members of an extensive coalition of politicians, religious leaders, community members and educational institutions who opposed Ivanhoe's presence. Signs posted in public places throughout the island are a strong indication of the united stance against mining taken by the people of Tablas." In speaking to community members Coumans found that "they clearly articulated an alternative vision of their own development, which they believe is incompatible with metal mining."
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) expressed their elation in the Ivanhoe decision. Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of ATM, said that the strong and united stance of the people of Romblon has finally paid off. "The struggle to protect the environment and the richness of Romblon province has resulted in this sound decision of the mining company to leave the island."
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