OceanaGold Philippines Shut Down – No Legal Licence and No Social Licence
(Ottawa/Vancouver) Today Canadians will take to the streets in Ottawa and in Vancouver in a show of solidarity with indigenous Ifugao members of the mountain village of Didipio in Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines, who have been peacefully blockading a Canadian owned mine for over a month. The blockade comes after years of well-documented environmental and human rights abuses at OceanaGold’s copper-gold mine and a steady stream of petitions and resolutions by villagers and elected leaders of Didipio to stop the mine’s operations.
The day after OceanaGold’s 25-year licence lapsed, on June 20, 2019, the elected village leadership of Didipio signed Resolution 59 directing OceanaGold “to stop its operations” as its permit had expired. Governor Carlos Padilla of Nueva Vizcaya issued a restraining order on June 25, to stop OceanaGold from mining, which was supported by the Mayor of the municipality where the mine is located and by the elected leadership of Didipio.
As OceanaGold initially refused to stop mining, even after the governor had issued his restraining order, Didipio villagers blockaded the mine’s entry road on July 1. Their action suspended truck movement and stopped mining, although the company continues to process ore at the site. OceanaGold sought injunctive relief, but on July 25 the Regional Trial Court denied OceanaGold’s petition noting that the company’s licence had in fact ceased to exist as of June 20, 2019, and that President Duterte had not approved the company’s application for a renewal of the permit.
OceanaGold’s efforts to renew its permit started in 2018 and were shrouded in secrecy. At no time did the company start an open and transparent consultation with the elected leadership of Didipio, or with the indigenous people of Didipio, most of whom are Ifugao, to seek their Free Prior and Informed Consent. The blockade is a clear indication that OceanaGold not only does not have a legal permit to mine, but also does not have social acceptability, or a social licence, to mine.
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.
For more information see the attached Background Brief
- Ottawa – Prime Minister’s Office, corner of Wellington and Elgin Street.
- Vancouver – OceanaGold Corporate Office, 777 Hornby St.
- Douglas Booker, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines – Canada - [email protected]
- Kristine Castaños, International League of People’s Struggles – Canada - [email protected]
- Nicole Sudiacal, Anakbayan Ottawa - [email protected]
- Beth Dollaga, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights - [email protected]
- Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada - [email protected]
 OceanaGold Corporation is the Canadian-based parent company of OceanaGold Philippines Inc. It is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange with headquarters in Melbourne and a corporate office in British Columbia. OceanaGold operates the Didipio project through wholly-owned subsidiaries in Singapore, the Netherlands and the Philippines. OceanaGold (Philippines), Inc. owns 92% of the Didipio Mine.