Glencore plc: Violent Conflict with Indigenous Groups in the Philippines

Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) [1], a 62.5% subsidiary of Xstrata Copper, runs the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project on the Philippine island of Mindanao. Commercial production is set to begin in 2019. The project requires that 5,000 indigenous people be resettled, puts community livelihoods at risk, and threatens vital water sources. Despite ongoing community protests and a provincial ban on open pit mining, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) certified the project´s environmental compliance in February 2013.[2] Earlier, in October 2012, soldiers killed an indigenous woman (Juvy Capion) and her two sons belonging to the B´laan, a tribal group that opposes the project.[3] A court case against them was dismissed in October 2013.[4] On 23 August 2013, tribal leader Anting Freay and his son Victor were also shot dead by military forces.[4a]

SMI reportedly funds military and paramilitary forces in several communities around the mine.[5] A study conducted by the University of Duisburg-Essen´s Institute for Development and Peace on behalf of Misereor, Bread for All, and Fastenopfer concluded that the Tampakan project did not safeguard the human rights of those affected by the project according to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.[6] The organizations formally called on SMI to further investigate and adjust their operation to conform to international human rights standards.[7] The company rejects these allegations.[8]

In February 2014, Glencore Xstrata announced the willingness to sell its stake in the Tampakan project- not because of human rights concerns but because it did not want to develop “greenfield projects”. [9]

In August 2014, Glencore was brought before the UN Human Rights Council related to claims surrounding its Tampakan Gold and copper mine. Claims were related to killing of activists, arbitrary arrests, displacement, denial of local indigenous people’s right to ‘free, prior and informed consent’ and environmental damage. [10]

 

Update June 2015:

Glencore has completed the sale of its shares in Sagittarius  Mines, the owner of the Tampakan Project. Their stake of 62.5% was aquired by the Alcantara group, which controls Indophil Resources NL. Indophil already held the remaining 37.5%. Several conditions had to be met before the sale on June 30. [11]

 

 

[1] Mines and Communities: Sagittarius Mines Inc., compilation of articles; accessed 3.9.2013

[2] Mineweb.com (2013): Philippines clears Xstrata’s $5.9bn Tampakan mine, 19 February, accessed 3.9.2013

[3] Mines and Communities (2012): Philippines: Tampakan violence claims the lives of tribal woman and her children, 23 October, accessed 3.9.2013

[4] Piplinks (2013): A year after the Tampakan massacre: justice remains elusive, big mining threats live on, 23 October, accessed 23 October

[4a] John Rizle L. Saligumba (2013): Groups bewail killing of another anti-SMI Xstrata mining leader, son, 27 August, accessed 22.04.2014

[5] Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources (2013): Philippines: Kiblawan Mayor Confirms Sagittarius Mines Link To Escalating Militarization In Tampakan, 25 February, accessed 3.9.2013

[6] swissinfo.ch (2013): NGOs slam Glencore Xstrata over mining project, 13 June, accessed 3.9.2013

[7] Fastenopfer, Misereor, Brot für Alle (2013): Human Rights Impact Assessment of the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, 12 June, accessed 3.9.2013

[8] SMI (2013): Response to INEF’s Human Rights Impact Assessment for the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, 12 June, accessed 3.9.2013

[9] rappler.com (2014): Glencore-Xstrata selling Tampakan stake, 30 January, accessed 13.2.2014

[10] Davao Today (2014): Swiss-owned mining firm to face int´l HR tribunal for rights violations, 2 August, accessed 30.09.2014

[11] Business Inquirer (2015): Alcantaras acquire Tampakan project, 25 June, accessed 25.06.2015

 

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