projects . gallery . team project . forum . search . members . my space

/project view

 © alex felipe (
13 photo(s)
and 1 draft(s),
created on 01-03-2008
2 project comment(s)
50 photos comment(s)
The Midas touch is often a colloquialism used positively, as in 'wow he's so lucky, everything he touches turns to gold!'  However a quick look back at the original Greek myth reminds us that Midas' power was no boon, but a curse.

* * *

This colour set will take you to two Australian owned large-scale mining sites in the Philippines: Didipio in Luzon, run by OceanaGold and Rapu-Rapu Island, run by Lafayette.

[*note:  I also visited two Canadian sites:  Marinduque (PlacerDome/Barrick Gold), the site of THREE of the worlds worst mining disasters; Mt. Canatuan (TVI Pacific), site of multiple human rights infractions.  I may show these images at a later date.]

The Philippines is ranked second to South Africa in production (per unit of land area). Gold is found throughout the islands and mining is one of the centre pieces of the government’s economic strategy--that's part of what makes this so tragic for me as I don't see any of that wealth reaching the common people.

The Philippine Mining Act (RA 7942) allows:
- 100% foreign ownership.
- Renewable 5 year tax holidays (after which they pay 2%).
- Tax and duty-free importation of capital equipment and spare parts.
- Tax credits and exemption from the Value Added Tax.
- 100% repatriation of profits, investments, remittance of loans and obligations, and freedom from expropriation.

There are three main financial centres for global mining multinationals.  They are:
- London, England
- Toronto, Canada
- Melbourne, Australia

* * *

On a positive note there is a drive to create a kind of international branding for gold. There is a major initiative called ARM (Association for Responsible Mining) that is developing standards and verification systems to certify gold from small scale producers so it can be marketed like fair trade coffee. And there are also a number of organizations that are working on something called the Green Gold campaign.


The Association for Responsible Mining:


A superb series! One I had totaly missed out on and I'm glad to have discovered this gem. This is storytelling of the highest class, a rarity here at PH. Your writing also adds a lot of depth to the powerful images.


Hi Alex,

Instead of commenting on each individual photo, I'd rather comment the whole project. Your series has an eerie instructive side that can only be highly commanded. Although, you may have, as stated by Luko, gone a bit fast on the fish aspect of the problem, you raise real questions in our world of profits versus human values... I have been very receptive to this project as I did not know this issue before going through your photographic series.  The photos are a worthwhile addition to your notes and as such, is very good! You have displayed enough human touches to highlight the human dimension of the issue.
Congrats for this project!