Communists threaten more mine attacks

Reuters

Posted at Oct 07 2011 12:23 AM | Updated as of Oct 07 2011 08:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Maoist guerrillas on Thursday threatened more attacks on foreign-operated mines in the southern Philippines, targeting those who they say pollute the environment and have displaced indigenous people.

The rebels attacked three mines on southern Mindanao island on Monday, destroying or damaging about 50 percent of equipment at Taganito -- the biggest of four mines operated by the country's largest nickel producer Nickel Asia Corp .

Jorge Madlos, spokesman of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Mindanao, said in a statement the attack on three mines in Surigao del Norte would serve as a warning to other companies violating rebel policies. The NDF is the political arm of communist rebels.

"The revolutionary movement will not hesitate to severely punish other mining companies if they continuously disregard these policies," Madlos said.

He named four mine sites in the southern Philippines, including the Tampakan project operated by Sagittarius Mines Inc., the local affiliate of Xstrata Plc and Indophil Resources NL .

In the past, the rebels have attacked the $5.9 billion Tampakan project in South Cotabato province, considered Southeast Asia's largest undeveloped copper-gold prospect.

The other warnings were given to mines of Eastern Mining Corp, San Roque Mining Inc. and Canadian-operated Toronto Ventures Inc. in Zamboanga Sibugay, all on the southern island of Mindanao.

"We are serious and determined to protect our patrimony, sovereignty and general welfare and interests of the people and the environment. We will use full potential of the revolutionary movement to carry out these just policies," Madlos said.

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines accused the rebels of using environmental concern as an excuse to extort money from large-scale mining operations in the country.

"We wish to underscore that our member-companies will never succumb to pressures of whatever form to pay the rebels' so-called revolutionary taxes," said a statement from the miners' group led by Philip Romualdez, who heads Benguet Corporation.