...the country took a nationalistic turn against foreign miners in the wake of the disastrous 1996 Rapu-Rapu cyanide spill by Canadian miner Placer Dome in Albay province.
MANILA - Australian ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith last week jumped to the defense of the dozen or so Australian mining companies operating there, in what is turning out to be a nightmarish venture for most of them. It's the latest sign that all is not well in the Philippine mining business, despite the government's various initiatives to promote more foreign investment in the underdeveloped sector.
One Australian mining company now faces criminal charges for alleged tax evasion; another is under investigation by the independent Commission on Human Rights for complaints of harassment, killings and mass displacements of indigenous tribes. A third is complaining behind the scenes about extortion from political operatives with alleged links to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's government.
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