Manila, Philippines – There is little likelihood that thousands of farmers in South Cotabato would lose irrigation water on account of operation of the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project. A review of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the project of Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) showed that the main source of water for the farms in the valleys is Mount Matutum, a protected area south of the 9,600-hectare mine site.
The mine site itself is inhabited by 4,000 people in 870 households, 70 percent of whom are members of the B’laan indigenous community who cultivate corn, coffee, bananas, and tropical fruits. More than 60 percent of the site has been cleared for agriculture by farmers who rely on rainfall to grow their crops. The mean annual rainfall for the project site is 2,400 millimeters. The EIA for the SMI project said the site “is located within the headwaters of tyher drainage catchments of the Altayan, Dalul, Mainit, Mal, Manteo, and Taplan Rivers.“ (Marvyn N. Benaning)