Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (PASA) media release
8 June 2021
Australian Greens Senator, Janet Rice, exposed abuses committed by Australian mining company OceanaGold at a Senate Estimates hearing last Friday.
Senator Rice raised concerns the Australian government’s role in ‘advocating for an Australian company with a very poor track record on human rights.’ She said that ‘In May 2021 in a briefing the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines praised the lifting of a mining ban in the Philippines and promoted a number of Australian mining companies including OceanaGold. This was despite [the] very concerning record of OceanaGold in terms of their human rights record’ including reports about ‘illegal demolition of houses, and many violations of human rights.’
The Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (PASA) applauds Sen Rice for holding the government to account. Human Rights Spokesperson, Sister Patricia Fox, said ‘PASA is grateful that Senator Rice has exposed OceanaGold’s abuses in the Philippines and is holding our government to account. OceanaGold has committed serious human rights violations including intimidating local community members with firearms. Residents have been attacked and one was shot by OceanaGold security personnel.’
A report by Oxfam Australia’s Mining Ombudsman in 2007 reported allegations that OceanaGold had benefited from the forceful acquisition of the land it mines in Didipio. A 2011 Philippine Commission on Human Rights report found that OceanaGold had illegally demolished at least 187 houses in Didipio, used violence against local community members, intimated them with firearms, and restricted their movements. The report noted that OceanaGold ‘is largely responsible for the continuing threats to security of persons, given it controls and supervises the actions of its security forces, and that unlawful demolitions were conducted at its behest.’ The UN High Commission for Human Rights expressed its concerns about the forceful dispersal of protesters in 2020 saying that ‘around 100 police forcibly dispersed some 30 indigenous and environment defenders’ who were exercising their right to freedom of assembly to object against the continued operations in the Didipio mine’, and that the ‘use of force by the police was unnecessary and disproportionate’.
‘PASA is also concerned that OceanaGold has made misleading claims about support for its mine in Didipio’ Sister Fox said. ‘OceanaGold, whose mining licence expired in 2019, claimed that its application for renewal “has the strong endorsement of the residents in the local communities in and around the Didipio Mine including Indigenous Peoples.” In fact, people in Didipio strongly oppose the mine because of its devastating effects on their health, livelihoods, the environment.’
‘PASA is concerned that OceanaGold’s misleading statements are being used to push for the renewal of their mining licence and once again force their unwanted mine on the people of Didipio. We are also concerned that OceanaGold is misleading the market, their shareholders, and theAustralian public.’
PASA Secretary, Reyvi Marinas, added that ‘PASA calls on the Australian Government to investigate OceanaGold’s misleading claims and their abuses in the Philippines. We support the demands of the Didipio community in calling for OceanaGold to cease operations there and to compensate them for environmental damage and other harms done.’
Contact – Andrew Morrison: 0415 365 109, firstname.lastname@example.org
Other references: Sen Rice at Senate Estimates –
https://parlview.aph.gov.au/mediaPlayer.php?videoID=544320 (13:37:52 – 13:41:20)
Australian Greens Senator exposes OceanaGold abuses
Senator Janet Rice exposed abuses committed by Australian mining company, OceanaGold, at a Senate Estimates hearing last Friday. In a media release, PASA applauds Sen Rice, adding that the OceanaGold is misleading the market and the Australian public, and calls on the company to cease operations and compensate residents.
Australian Senator Janet Rice has exposed abuses committed by Australian mining company, OceanaGold. PASA applauds Sen Rice and calls on OceanaGold to cease operations and compensate residents.