BHP Billiton exposed: a mining company of lies and deceit

Nov. 10, 2008

With the expos of Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod) of the ‘dirty tactics’ employed by the world’s biggest miner, BHP Billiton’s insincerity to the communities that it claims it wants to help is laid bare.

If BHP Billiton is really sincere, it should not have employed deceit to obtain the consent of the people in the community. By employing deceit, it only shows its disrespect and its greed.

The mining company blinded the people with the promise of jobs, livelihood and development in order to silence those who are opposed to the mining project.

While BHP Billiton brags that it promotes responsible mining in every part of the globe, and is touted to be one of the leaders in corporate responsibility, the findings of Cafod’s report ‘Kept in the Dark’ raises fundamental questions about the basis of BHP Billiton’s ‘social licence’ to operate in Macambol, Davao Oriental and could have potentially dire consequences for local communities and the environment.’

With the expos, BHP Billiton is seen to be no different from other mining companies whose activities also led to the polarization of the communities where they operate; companies that are willing and able to employ deception to ensure its business and profits

The report also supported the consistent criticisms against the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), known to serve the interests of mining companies rather than the interest of the indigenous peoples in the area. The process, facilitated by NCIP, by which the free and prior informed consent was attained by BHP was deeply flawed, as shown in the report.

‘Kept in the Dark’ puts in the spotlight the connivance between BHP Billiton and its local partner Asiaticus Management Corporation (Amcor), to ignore the fact that the project site sits between the two declared protected areas – Mt. Hamiguitan and Pujada Bay. The mining project not only threatens the biodiversity of these protected areas but the food security of the people living in these areas. The people in Barangay Macambol — the project site — depends on the resources found in the area.

On the other hand, granting big corporations, such as BHP Billiton, full access and control to land and the resources within it, is a manifestation of government’s willingness to deprive its people of their right to economic, social and cultural rights. The government itself has deliberately ignored its obligation to provide every family an adequate standard of living.

The Cafod’s report should be a wake up call to the government — that BHP’s presence in Macambol is a direct threat to the rich natural resources of the area and to the livelihood of the communities dependent on these resources.

The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-KsK ) reiterates its call for the government to support and develop community-based programs and initiatives of the indigenous peoples and rural poor communities in protecting the biodiversity in their areas, and ensuring their food security.

The LRC-KsK echoes the call of the communities of Macambol who have expressed their continuing opposition against the presence of BHP Billiton, which has been spreading divisiveness and greed.

Finally, LRC-KsK also reiterates its call to scrap the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, as it promotes the entry of companies such as BHP, and which do not serve the interest of the indigenous peoples, rural poor communities, and the country. #

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