NO TO MINING IN RAPU-RAPU, ALBAY
Lafayette Mining, an Australian company, in its information campaign proposes a profitable and environmentally-clean mining operation in Rapu-Rapu. We want to discredit this claim because right now in Barangay Pagcolbon, where exploratory drilling is taking place in a 20-hectare lot, environmental destruction is already happening in the cutting of trees, bulldozing and leveling of the hilly and muddy terrain, quarrying of corals, sand, rocks, and gravel. These destructive activities are being done in the establishment of the mining site and construction of a road system and other infrastructure. Possibly contamination of scarce fresh water resource is happening as evidenced by water turning yellowish and emitting foul odor, unsafe and unfit for human use and consumption. All these add up to extinction of the rapidly dwindling wildlife following the destruction of its habitat.
And if mining is allowed to operate fully, the damage to the environment will be multiplied considering that Lafayette will adopt the open-pit system in extracting ore and cyanide for processing. Open-pit mining uses machines to dig holes and remove ores, causing erosion of rocks and soil which flow down to the coastal areas and eventually end up in the sea. Cyanide is so poisonous that even in dilute concentration is lethal to animal life.
Rapu-Rapu has a sad history of hit-and-run mining. The Japanese Imperial Army mined Barangay Sta. Barbara for gold, zinc, and copper employing forced labor. Hixbar Mining Co. abandoned mining in Sta. Barbara in the seventies leaving behind a huge open pit, barren land and three contaminated rivers. In mid-eighties a coal mining firm left Batan Island with barren, open-pit, and unproductive areas. The Ungay Point at the eastern part of the island has been subjected to a series of environmentally degrading explorations by Benguet Consolidated, Inc., Toronto Ventures, Inc., Sfinix, and finally in 1998 by Lafayette.
This proposed gold mining in Rapu-Rapu will eventually destroy this fragile island ecosystem, flora and fauna, water resources, aquatic and marine life, corals, seagrasses, mangroves, fishes, and finally human life.
Therefore, we appeal to the residents of Rapu-Rapu to listen to experience and reason and oppose mining of their priceless island. The promise of financial benefits now will not compensate the permanent damage of the land, the source of life.
We also appeal to the national and local government agencies and local government officials, particularly the DENR not to give permit to Lafayette or any other mining company to operate in Rapu-Rapu. We firmly believe that Rapu-Rapu is so fragile an ecosystem so susceptible to degradation and destruction that mining must not be allowed to operate in it.
Finally, we appeal to our fellow Bicolanos to be vigilant in opposing any threat to our environment and be one in asserting: NO TO MINING IN RAPU-RAPU!