It was hilarious hearing members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) trying to defend themselves against reports that there was a meeting between members of Congress and mining company Citinickel the night before the decision was made to deny the confirmation of DENR Secretary Gina Lopez.
First on the list of those who made adamant denials was San Juan’s Ronaldo Zamora. As if he’d need to be spoken to by any mining company at all.
The Zamora-mining connection
His older brother Manuel Zamora is founder and chairman of Nickel Asia Corp. The same Nickel Asia that in 2011 was criticized for not settling royalty fees with indigenous peoples affected by mining activities, for refusing to address environmental degradation brought about by its mines, and refusing to raise mine workers’ wages (GMA News, 11 Oct 2011) in its mines in Surigao.
The Environmental Justice Atlas (https://ejatlas.org) says of Nickel Asia’s Taganito Mine: “Militarization, environmental destruction of indigenous lands and unpaid royalties: the ingredients of Taganito Mining Corporation’s corporate success.”
We could go as far back as 2002, and talk about Nickel Asia’s Hinatuan mine and its implications on issues of human rights and environmental law violations. Instead, let’s talk about 2016, when Eastern Samar Gov. Conrado Nicart ordered the closure of the Hinatuan Mine in Manicani after the community protested against its resumption of operations (Inquirer.net, 17 June 2016).