Oppose the operation of Makilala Mines Corporation Inc in Kalinga

This article is available in PilipinoBisayaHiligaynon

The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF)-Kalinga called on national minorities and peasants to collectively oppose the operation of Makilala Mines Corporation Inc (MMCI) in the town of Pasil, Kalinga. This company is a subsidiary of Australia’s Celsius Resources.

MMCI’s investment in Kalinga follows Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s pimping of the country’s resources during his recent visit to Australia. His regime awarded the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) to the company in March. The MPSA granted to the company is valid for 25 to 50 years.

MMCI will cover the vast land that is part of the ancestral land of the Balatoc people. Its operations will plunder around 2,500 hectares of ancestral land.

MMCI will mine the Maaliano-Caigutan-Biyog (MCB) gold and copper deposits lining the Pasil River. The company will pour ₱13 billion into the MCB Copper Mining Project to start its operations this year. The mine is expected to start earning profits during its second year of operation. The MCB deposit lies next to the Dickson deposit previously mined by Batong-Buhay Gold Mines Inc and its various partners.

In line with the MPSA, the national government will receive a share of the production including the meager excise tax on mineral products and a 4% royalty, as well as some taxes and fees. MMCI will pay a measly ₱183,000 per year to the local government of Pasil. Meanwhile, MMCI is expected to extract 2.25 million tons of ore at the beginning of the operation, and double it in succeeding years.

Processed gold and copper mined by MMCI in Kalinga will be exported abroad. It will be supplied to imperialist nations for automation and the trending “green technology”.

Dangerous and destructive

Mining will bring nothing to the people of Kalinga but disruption and widespread destruction of land and mountains. MMCI will use the sub-level open stoping (SLOS) method digging tunnels up to 600 meters deep. These tunnels will be used for the coordinated extraction of ore.

At the end of the mining operation, 78% of the mine tailings will be dumped in these tunnels. The rest of the remaining waste will be processed to purportedly remove the toxic chemical and convert it into agricultural soil or piles for flood control and construction. A separate dam will be built to contain water from the tunnels and ore processing by-products that contains copper, acids and various toxic chemicals.

The mine will hog water and electricity supply. A large dam will be built to collect clean water from Kafacrutan Creek. It will divert water from the Pasil River which is the main waterway in Kalinga.

This will also affect the power supply in the Cordillera as MMCI will draw 12 megawatts for its operations. In addition to sourcing from the national grid, the company will also draw power from four electrification projects under construction in Kalinga.

Offices, processing plants and other facilities will occupy 31.83 hectares on the surface.

The state will build the Lubuagan-Batong Buhay-Abra Road spanning 85.5 kilometers to serve MMCI. Processed copper will traverse along this road to the ports of Salomague, Cabugao and San Esteban, all in Ilocos Sur.

MMCI colludes with the reactionary government in speeding up the process to open the mine. In tandem with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), it divides the national minorities and incites conflicts to prevent them from uniting and opposing the mine. As in many cases throughout the country, the NCIP manipulated the indigenous people to circumvent the community’s Free, Prior, and Informed Consent required by law to allow the company’s mining operation.

Military and police units serve as mine guards. A large-scale combat operation disguised as counter-insurgency is being launched in the mountains of Kalinga to suppress the people’s opposition to the project.

From CPDF-Kalinga’s primer on MMCI.

Oppose the operation of Makilala Mines Corporation Inc in Kalinga