April 21, 2013
Marcopper Mining Corporation
The residents of Marinduque Island in the Phillippines have suffered from environmental injustice for the past 40 years. The toxic waste from the Marcopper Mine, have devastated the environment and the health of nearby communities. Due to poverty, corrupt local government and multinational corporations and the disinterest of the international community, the environmental negative effects of the region, have affected local residents the most without any punishment to the people that cause this natural disaster.
In 1969 the Maricopper Mine Corporation began mining for copper, silver and gold at the Mount Tapian ore deposits. In 1990, the extraction of these minerals depleted and the Maricopper mine move to the community of San Antonio. In the process of extracting the minerals, large amounts of dirt had to be mixed with water and chemicals to be able to separate copper from it. This process leaved millions of tons of tailings and waste that were dumped in local rivers and coast, polluting everything on its path. According to the “Mining Ombudsman Case Report: Marinduque Island”, the Marcopper corporation dumped more than 200 million tons of tailings into the waters, at a surface level on the coast of Calacan Bay from 1975 to 1991. These toxic wastes contaminated and destroyed 80 kilometers of the seabed area, along with corals, sea grass, and fish. In 1996, the Mine was forced to shut down its operations when the government of the Phillippines called it a “state of calamity” after one of the drainage tunnels broke and four million tons of mining tailings got into the Boac River. The heavy metals that were dumped into the ocean and rivers have polluted the soil and the underground water as well, making it almost impossible to grow anything in the area.
The population of Marinduque Island is one of the poorest communities in the Phillippines that...