Scientists #SupportGina towards nationalized mining industry, national industrialization
Scientist activist group AGHAM Advocates of Science and Technology for the People will join various groups on March 1 in a solidarity mob outside the Senate, expressing support for Secretary Gina Lopez' confirmation and her campaign to close big and destructive mines towards a new system of mining under national industrialization.
"We laud the efforts of Sec. Lopez for the closure of 23 mining companies, the suspension of 5 large-scale mining operations, and the cancellation of 75 Mineral Production Sharing Agreements. We believe that this is a significant step to reverse the current system of plunderous and destructive mining in the country," said Finesa Cosico, Secretary-General of AGHAM.
According to the group, the mining industry in the country has been largely confined to extraction for export due to the lack of industries that can process the minerals, a set-up which has emphasized the exploitative nature of the industry and would not happen if the mining industry operates under the framework of national industrialization.
"Mining under national industrialization will be integrated to the local economy. It will have linkages to downstream industries such as manufacturing and will directly support other aspects of development such as power, transportation, and rural industrialization and agricultural modernization," said Cosico.
The group also addressed the environmental impact of mining, stating that while it is inevitable, it can be significantly reduced and more effectively managed by orienting the industry to answer domestic needs instead of global or foreign demand.
According to geologist Ric Saturay of AGHAM Diliman, “There are at least 40 competent persons recognized by the local geology profession, who have the knowledge and skills to evaluate mineral potential, resources, and ore reserves. Their expertise must be utilized in formulating mineral exploration and production targets which are in line with national industrialization. And while national industrialization entails a possible rationalization of active mining operations at a given time, it opens opportunities to geologists and mining engineers to further engage in other aspects of the industry such as exploration, environmental management, and mine reclamation and closure.”
He added that mining in the context of national industrialization also builds stable linkages to downstream industries, diversifying opportunities for the metallurgical engineers.
"There is a need to reorient the mining industry from a liberalized towards a nationalized industry where the welfare of the people and the environment is prioritized. We can only do so under a framework of national industrialization," ended Cosico.#