Lopez v Dominguez: DENR Chief says no to Tampakan mine owned by DOF Chief
Environment Secretary Gina Lopez and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez are headed on a collission course after the fiesty eco-warrior announced she would block the opening of Tampakan copper and gold mining project in South Cotabato.
Lopez said: “Tampakan is on top of hundreds of hectares of agricultural land, the food basket of Mindanao, and you want to put a 700-hectare open-pit mine? I don’t care how much money they give us. It’s not worth it. Who is making the money here and who is taking the risk?”
Lopez said she would stand against any move to lift South Cotabato’s ban on open pit mining, Tampakan’s preferred extraction method, which she described as “horrible.”
Dominguez is a part owner of Sagittarius Mining Inc. (SMI) which has a pending proposal to spend $5.9 billion to dig into one of Southeast Asia’s largest untapped resources with an estimated yield of 11.6 million tons of copper and 14.6 million ounces of gold.
The project, which would also encompass Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur, has been opposed by residents because of its massive impact on their water source Lake Buluan.
Dominguez is a boyhood friend and campaign contributor and strategist of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Lopez, the sister of ABS-CBN boss Gabby Lopez, is a replacement nominee of Duterte for the DENR who had previously announced that he was reserving the post for his comrades in the National Democratic Front.
In this battle of Duterte allies, who will give in? Sare us your thoughts in the comments section below.