Swiss mining firm drops Philippine Project
Glencore-Xstrata, known as the world’s biggest mining company, is pulling out its operations in Mindanao as one of the conditions of the company’s merger. The mining operation in Tampakan, South Cotabato is a $5.9-billion copper-gold mining project that could have been the Philippines’ biggest foreign investment, capable of boosting the GDP by 1%.
The reason the firm is dropping its operations in the country is because this fulfills conditions set by the Chinese government for the merger of commodities group Glencore and mining group Xstrata last May. The condition forced the firm to sell its ‘greenfield’ mines, including Tampakan.
But since mid-2013, Glencore-Xstrata had experienced difficulties pushing through with the Tampakan project. Open-pit mining is banned by the provincial government, delaying operations in Tampakan. Local resistance of mining operations by local armed rebels, indigenous peoples and church groups had also increased the risks in the area.
Just after the merging of the company, Tampakan saw more than a thousand layoffs from Glencore-Xstrata’s local operator Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI). Glencore-Xstrata’s Australian partner Indophil said it will continue ‘doing what it can to ensure the project licence conditions are not compromised in this process.’
The mine in Tampakan is said to have a 2.9-billion metric tonne deposit of copper and gold. Local armed protesters against mining activity in the area have repeatedly shown their anxiety over the project as it could harm the environment and livelihood of residents.