Green Group Denounces ANZ for OceanaGold Denial

“ANZ is lying through their teeth by saying they have no involvement in the OceanGold Didipio Gold-Copper mining project. The bank is listed as one of the top shareholders in the latest OceanaGold Corporation annual report,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of militant environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE).

Kalikasan PNE was among those who picketed in front of the ANZ’s Makati office, Friday, last week. Indigenous Peoples groups, local and national organizations were also there to launch their petition for ANZ and HSBC to withdraw their contribution to the mining project.

“It is incredible how ANZ could attempt to evade responsibility when it is listed as second in the top twenty shareholders in the mining company’s report, holding 16.65% of the shares. ANZ is even followed by several HSBC custody nominee accounts. Moreover, it is the largest holder of listed options with 13.80% of the total fully paid shares.” declared Bautista.

According to Bautista, it is to remembered that ANZ was also the financier of the Lafayette Polymetallic Project in Rapurapu, Albay. Lafayette, operator of Rapurapu flagship mining project of the Arroyo government, have entered into voluntary administration and filed for bankruptcy. The mining operation faced intense opposition from local residents and their supporters after it caused several fishkills, mine spills, massive environmental destruction and other negative impacts to the health and livelihood of the residents.

“This is not the first time the bank has been involved in disputed mining operations. ANZ should have learned its lesson not to invest in contentious mining projects. Corporations like Lafayette and OceanaGold have charges of human rights violations and environmentally destructive mining practices. Investing in them are not impracticable, but also against responsible banking norms which ANZ professes it adheres to,” Bautista expressed.

Numerable individuals and groups have already demonstrated opposition to the Didipio project. The local Kasibu Municipal Council and the Provincial Board of Nueva Vizcaya already voted to oppose the mine development and several inquiries were also initiated in response to the clamor of the residents. Opposition against the mine is due to accounts of community displacement, human rights violations, economic dislocation, and risks of environmental devastation.

Bautista indicated that, “ANZ should not undermine the increasing calls of organizations and individuals. Even international groups are paying attention as confirmed by the vigil to be held in front of ANZ Bank in Sydney, today at 5:30-6:30 pm, headed by Action for Peace and Development in the Philippines (APDP). This is in solidarity with the residents of the mining-affected communities who are calling for the bank to face accountability and not participate in irresponsible mining projects, as in the case in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya.”

“ANZ’s denial of their involvement in the Didipio Gold-Copper mining project attests that they are now feeling the pressure of the dissent and resistance of the people. If ANZ is really for ethical and respectable projects, they should pull out now before they incur serious loses, in terms of financial and social reputation.” challenged Bautista.

One Response to “Green Group Denounces ANZ for OceanaGold Denial”

  1. Gaddang Native Says:

    Stand up and fight for the Nueva Vizcaya residents! Don’t let foreign industries destroy our peaceful and pristine environment and way of living of our province. Don’t allow them to dig and leave any toxic chemicals on our land. Help preserve our Nueva Vizcaya the way it is!

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