The tribal councils of the five host communities of Danlag, Folubato, S'bangken, Salnaong and Bong Mal said: “We have been welcoming investors in our area because they have proven to be sincere in giving our people education and sources of livelihood towards sustainable growth and development.”
“Our people have been cooperating with and supporting SMI because we believe that the Tampakan Project is the hope for the future of our children and the community,” the statement added.
The leaders of the host barangays of Danlag, Pula Bato and Tablu in South Cotabato also lent their support stating: “…we are living witness to the strong corporate social responsibility of the company since its entry in 2002. We have been development partners in most of the community development projects in the area geared towards sustainable socio-economic development.”
The leaders also confirmed they were “not aware of any land grabbing, plunder and any environmental destruction in the project area by SMI.”
The business sector of South Cotabato, through the local Chamber of Commerce, also echoed the communities' support to SMI.
“We have so far known SMI to be very serious in environmental management and corporate social responsibility efforts,” said Carlito Uy, President of the South Cotabato Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. “More importantly, many of the poor people of Tampakan have been provided with employment, livelihood, health support and educational assistance due to the presence of SMI,” he added.
SMI Resident Manager, Gerardo Laviste, said the company was grateful for the steadfast support expressed by SMI’s stakeholders. “Since SMI entered the Tampakan project in late 2002, we have taken into consideration the environmental and social aspect of our operations. We are committed to constructive and participative engagement with the project stakeholders and have been guided by mutual respect and concern with the community and the environment.”
“Our aim is for this project to provide sustainable development for the host communities and surrounding areas. We believe that the Tampakan Project is the single most promising project that could bring lasting socio-economic development to Tampakan,” Mr. Laviste added.
While still in exploration and pre-feasibility studies phase, SMI has delivered over PhP21.3 million in community development assistance to the host communities. The Tampakan Project also provides local communities with employment opportunities through its pool of over 1,000 rotational and contractual workers sourced from the host communities.
Since 2003, SMI has also been providing financial support to over 10,000 students from the project area. In addition, thousands of families have benefited from the free medical and dental services provided by SMI, which has also supported medical insurance for over two thousand indigent families, mostly belonging to the B'laan tribe.
SMI has received a number of important citations and awards from respected institutions in recognition of its social and community development initiatives and its environmental management practices.
DR. ROLANDO DORIA
Local and Regional Government Affairs Superintendent
Sagittarius Mines, Inc.
Mobile: (63) 920-9291776
Notes to editors:
The Tampakan project is located on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, approximately 65 kilometers north of General Santos City. The current project is situated on the boundary of three Provinces – South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Davao Del Sur. The Tampakan copper gold deposit is located in the province of South Cotabato, municipality of Tampakan.
The Tampakan deposit represents one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in South East Asia. The latest mineral resource estimate confirmed 2.2 billion tonnes containing 12.8 million tonnes of copper and 15.2 million ounces of gold at a 0.3% copper cut-off grade.
On 30 March 2007, Xstrata Copper acquired 62.5% of the controlling interest in the Tampakan Project and assumed management control through its Philippines based affiliate Sagittarius Mines, Inc.
Xstrata Copper is headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, with regional offices in Santiago and Antofagasta, Chile; Lima and Arequipa, Peru; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Toronto, Canada, and is one of the commodity business units within the major global diversified mining group Xstrata plc.
Xstrata Copper’s mining operations and projects span seven countries and include mines, mineral processing plants and port facilities in North Queensland, Australia; mining and processing operations and port facilities in Chile, Peru and Argentina in South America; and mining and processing plants in Canada. It also has a recycling business (Xstrata Recycling) with facilities in Canada, the United States and Asia.
Xstrata Copper is the fourth largest global copper producer, with annual managed production of over one million tones. (SMI)