Publicly listed Apex Mining Co., Inc. (AMCI) today (31 May 2014) deplored continuing efforts by its detractors to disrupt company operations in Maco, Compostela Valley that adversely impact the firm and thousands of mine workers and their families.
In a statement, AMCI said militant groups who are non-residents of the mining firm’s immediate community have staged at least two protest rallies near its mine site. The latest one held Thursday at the main thoroughfare of Barangay Teresa and in front of AMCI’s gate caused heavy traffic, impeded the flow of trade and commerce, and forced hundreds of mine workers to miss their shift.
Some 100 militants, which did not have required rally permits, were later peacefully dispersed with help from the Philippine National Police, local officials, and concerned tribal leaders in the area.
The company said it is unfazed by the protest rallies and would not heed unreasonable demands by militant groups who do not represent its workers and legitimate residents of barangays Teresa and Masara. AMCI’s government-issued Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) straddles the two barangays where the firm has been operating its gold, silver, and copper mines for more than 40 years. It employs more than 1,400 workers.
“AMCI recognizes the Constitutional right of citizens to peaceably assemble to seek redress of their grievances. But the exercise of this right should not hamper or prejudice public welfare, nor step on the rights of others,” the company stressed.
It said Thursday’s ‘illegal mass action’ was witnessed by barangay officials and IP (Indigenous Peoples) leaders who said majority of the picketers were not residents of the mining firm’s impact area or its neighboring barangays.
“AMCI will continue to work with and entertain concerns only of barangays that may be directly affected by its operations through their elected officials and duly recognized IP leaders,” it stressed.
The firm said these community leaders recognize AMCI’s valuable contributions to job generation, community improvement and various socio-civic projects like scholarships and construction of school facilities.
The firm added that it would closely coordinate with the national and local government units, agencies and regulators, and IP leaders in Compostela Valley for peaceful and responsible mining that benefits not only the local community but the entire country as well.