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Philippines to investigate mining company for human rights abuses

[JURIST] The Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) [official website] announced Thursday that it will investigate Australian mining company Oceana Gold [corporate website] for possible human rights violations at the site of a planned gold and copper mine in Didipio, Philippines. According to CHR chairwoman Leila M. De Lima [official profile], Oceana Gold has been involved in the destruction of local homes near the mine site, as well as the physical intimidation, assault, and shootings of local residents opposed to construction of the mine. AFP has more. The Philippine Daily Inquirer has local coverage.

Some advocacy groups, including Oxfam Australia [advocacy website], have worked to spread awareness of local opposition to the Didipio mine [Oxfam backgrounder]. Local activists believe that the planned open-air strip mine will cause unnecessary environmental and health risks, as well as destroy traditional farmland and endanger local culture. In September 2007, Oxfam Australia published a report [text, PDF] by their mining ombudsman containing allegations that Oceana Gold and its representatives harassed and intimidated local residents, sought approval for the mining project in inappropriate ways such as through bribes, and sought to circumvent regulatory requirements to gain local consent for the mining project.

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