President Rodrigo R. Duterte pronounced that the country would survive without mining companies and that mining as an industry is now at the sunset of its life in the Philippines.
To appreciate the President’s words, every Filipino who loves his country must take a look at the following figures. The Philippines has a land mass of only 30 million hectares and a population of now more than 100 million people. Australia has a land area of 76.8 million hectares—more than double ours —yet its population is only 24.3 million as of early 2016.
Canada, on the other hand, has a land mass more than triple that of the Philippines, with 99.8 million hectares, and a population of only 35.8 million in 2015. With the size of these countries’ land areas and small populations in contrast to our much smaller land mass and much bigger population, is it logical to allow destructive mining to prosper in the Philippines?
Open-pit mining, which has been the trend in mining operations for lower costs, has caused the lopping off of mountains, the killing of flora and fauna, the cutting of trees, the poisoning of the soil and water and the creation of barren wastelands in its wake. Considering the Philippines’ small land mass and huge population, mining will displace inhabitants of land areas and impoverish them.
It will also cause soil erosion that can cause untold disasters. So, why should mining be allowed to thrive in the Philippines? On the other hand, even if open-pit mining operations were done many times over in either Canada or Australia, there will be little, if any at all, impact on their respective environments and people. Yet, why are foreign mining firms, most of which are Canadian and Australian, in the Philippines, mining our minerals?
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